Mod­ern Fam­ily

Ra­dio dee­jay Shan Wee and his en­tre­pre­neur wife, Ar­tika Su­laiman, may have dif­fer­ent per­son­al­i­ties, but the 32-yearolds share a com­mon style of par­ent­ing.

Simply Her (Singapore) - - Relative Values - BY AZLINDA SAID SH

YOU’VE BEEN MAR­RIED FOR THREE YEARS. HOW HAS YOUR RE­LA­TION­SHIP DE­VEL­OPED FROM THE TIME YOU WERE DAT­ING?

Ar­tika: We’ve been through a lot, es­pe­cially af­ter hav­ing our son, Ciaran, about a year and a half ago. When you have a baby, you don’t think about your re­la­tion­ship so much. You just try to sur­vive from one day to the next. There were a lot more chores and bick­er­ing about whose turn it was to care for the baby.

Shan: We were also try­ing to find a new home at that time so we were driv­ing from place to place ev­ery day, of­ten with a scream­ing baby in the car. It was stress­ful.

DID YOU EX­PECT PAR­ENT­HOOD TO BE THAT HARD?

Ar­tika: I never thought much about moth­er­hood when I found out I was preg­nant. I was just freaking out about how to give birth. No­body told me how my life would never be mine, ever again.

Shan: Dur­ing preg­nancy, all that you read is about how to stay healthy and what the birth will be like. You don’t read as much as you should on the first year of par­ent­ing, which of course is longer and more im­por­tant.

DO YOU GET PAR­ENT­ING TIPS FROM OTH­ERS?

Ar­tika: In the be­gin­ning, I was more sen­si­tive and would judge my­self as a mother each time some­one said some­thing about my par­ent­ing skills. Take hy­giene, for ex­am­ple. Some par­ents wash their chil­dren’s hands 70 times a day and don’t al­low them to touch the floor. If they do, the par­ents wipe their hands clean straight­away.

But Shan and I are quite lax about that – if Ciaran wants to crawl around on the floor, we let him. And he has turned out to be a re­ally funlov­ing kid. I don’t think we can adopt any­body else’s par­ent­ing style.

Shan: Ciaran’s barely two years old but he’s al­ready good at run­ning and climb­ing, partly be­cause we don’t pick him up at once when he falls. He’s very well-de­vel­oped phys­i­cally.

Ar­tika: A lot of peo­ple baby-proof their apart­ments. When a child crawls un­der the ta­ble, they place their hands on the child’s head so that he won’t bump it against the ta­ble. But we never did that with Ciaran, so he has built some spatial aware­ness.

“Ciaran’s barely two years old but he’s al­ready good at run­ning and climb­ing, partly be­cause we don’t pick him up at once

when he falls.”

- Shan

He can go in and out of any space with­out bump­ing his head be­cause he learnt early on not to do that.

IS CIARAN SHOW­ING ANY OF YOUR TRAITS? MAYBE HE’LL GROW AS TALL AS SHAN?

Ar­tika: No! My mum al­ways said that I had to marry some­one who’s taller, with a bet­ter nose, to im­prove the next gen­er­a­tion. Did I not do that? But Ciaran’s in the 25th per­centile growth-wise, ac­cord­ing to our doc­tor.

Shan: Yeah, he’s small for his age but I think he’ll end up fine. I’m not wor­ried about it. His looks and per­son­al­ity are mostly from Tika’s side, so I ex­pect him to be quite like her when he grows up – re­source­ful and out­go­ing.

Ar­tika: That’s be­cause Shan’s genes are su­per-lazy and su­per-re­laxed.

Shan: That’s true. My genes are go­ing, “Ah, we’ll be there in a minute” and hers are go­ing, “Now, now, now!”.

(Laughs)

DO YOU GUYS RIB EACH OTHER ALL THE TIME?

Ar­tika: All the time. We don’t say any­thing nice to each other.

Shan: I sup­pose we’ve al­ways shared a sense of hu­mour.

Ar­tika: I wouldn’t be with some­one who’s su­per-se­ri­ous.

WERE YOU AT­TRACTED TO HER WITTY HU­MOUR, SHAN?

Shan: Yeah, you don’t get that a lot from girls.

Ar­tika: You mean, you weren’t at­tracted to my looks? (Feigns anger)

Shan: Of course, your looks were the first thing I no­ticed. (Clears throat)

AR­TIKA SEEMS TO BE THE CHAT­TIER ONE, SHAN.

Ar­tika: He doesn’t talk if no one pays him to.

Shan: That’s the irony of my life. I’m a very quiet per­son, yet my job is all about talk­ing. Tika has al­ways been the out­go­ing one – it’s much more nat­u­ral for her to chat with peo­ple than it is for me.

SO IN YOUR CASE, OP­PO­SITES DO AT­TRACT?

Shan: I wouldn’t say we’re op­po­sites, but even if we are, I’m fine with it be­cause I don’t ex­pect I can ever meet a girl who would be bet­ter.

Ar­tika: I’m the best? Shan: I think so. And you’ve got a tro­phy to show for it as well. You see, she loves win­ning tro­phies so I’ve given her some as a joke. She has one for girl­friend of the year in 2010, she also has bride of the year in 2011 – that same year, the run­ner-up was Kate Middleton – so well done on that. She’ll get mother of the year too, in time.

WOULD YOU LIKE TO HAVE MORE CHIL­DREN?

Ar­tika: We’re ne­go­ti­at­ing. Shan wants more but I don’t know how to ma­noeu­vre with more than one child in my life.

Shan: I have three sib­lings while Tika has one. For me, it’s very im­por­tant for a boy to have a sib­ling, so I would ex­pect us to have at least two kids.

Ar­tika: My brother is six years younger than me. Maybe that’s why we didn’t con­nect, be­cause he’s from a “dif­fer­ent gen­er­a­tion”. Shan’s fam­ily mem­bers are very close to one another. They have a What­sapp group and text one another con­stantly, ev­ery day. When there’s noth­ing go­ing on, some­one will go, “What’s wrong? Where’s every­body?”.

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