And we do this and it's a hidious drizzly, sweaty, humid kind of day and just as the rain starts to ooze down I get a call from Helen, aka OperasingingMummy. Helen is the mother of Tricky's little friend Sebastian and as we know small boys must be exercised/exorcised frequently.
Otherwise they drive their mothers to drink.
I have an activity plan, she announces brightly. We can go to the Museum We Always Go To which is undercover, airconditioned, has coffee and snacks and comfy seating, free newspapers, an Hilarious 80's exhibition and loads of ramps for small boys to gallop up and down like wee, manic ponies.
OR... we can go to Chinese New Year! On the bus! In the sweaty humid rain! With the crowds! Carrying enormous umbrellas and pushing strollers!
And because it was Chinese New Year and because it is the Year Of The Tiger which calls for Courage and Energy and screwing up your face and making a small rahhh! noise, I said YES LET'S GO WITH THE SWEATY OPTION!
And lo we did.
And it was all those things but it was also fabulous and great fun. And full of adventure!
Getting two small boys onto the bus with two strollers, three bags and two enormous umbrellas, one of which refused to close? ADVENTURE!
Pushing stroller downstream through crowds of CNY revelers and managing to stop at stalls to purchase armfuls of dingly dangly decorative thingys without losing child, purse or sense of humour? ADVENTURE!
Taking Tricky to a portaloo, leaving stroller in mud, attempting to clean seat, pull down pants, lift him to wee wee height, have him glimpse the dark terrors that lay within and shriek NO NO I WANT TO WEE ON A TREE at top of his voice? ADVENTURE!
Eating stuff that reminded me of living in Malaysia, including the coveted peanut pancakes (much sweeter than I remember)? GOURMET ADVENTURE!
And the day went on; chinese opera, chinese dancing, elderly chinese ladies giving the boys good luck charms, many photographs taken of little boys with unknown Chinese artists, many small sweet tidbits devoured with never a hand being washed.
One of my favourite moments was seeing the two little boys running happily in the mud and drizzle. I wish I had taken photos but that would have necessitated growing at least one extra hand.
Helen and I sweated and pushed and sloshed through the mud and it was fifty sorts of jolly and we laughed and laughed. Because we were now addicted to our own adrenaline we upped the adventure quotient by entering a nearby MASSIVE SHOPPING CENTRE in Chinatown in search of a ventolin puffer and here too there was Chinese New Year and Tiger decorations akimbo and free red balloons which Tricky first accepted, and then felt worried that the balloon would burst and then handed to me to carry, along with all the rest of the cheap/free tat we had accumulated. Because god forbid I would say no to something that was FREE!
Finally we left the shopping centre of hell and since we were a hop and a skip and a run through another cloudburst away, we ended up at the Museum We Always Go To anyway. And after a brief educational glance at the exhibitions, we collapsed on comfy chairs in a quiet corner and our children, perhaps sensing even tigers need a cup of tea sometimes, played nicely until closing time and we, and all our Tiger stuff, were booted out.
Possibly the best Valentine's Day I have ever had.
Gong Hee Fat Choy!