Quality time, quantity time, kids
[Image courtesy of Phaitoon at freedigitalphotos.net]
HONG KONG - Most parents will agree with me when I say this: kids grow up way too fast.
It just seems like yesterday that my daughter was born. Then she began cooing and babbling.
And now, in the blink of an eye, she is at that age when toddlers typically ask parents questions about everything.
Her favorite question thus far has been, “What’s thaaaaaat?” Yes, she asks it with an annoying extended “A.” I haven’t the slightest clue where she picked up that habit, but it’s soooooo asaaaaaar (annoyiiiiing). (sic)
Fortunately, the answers to her questions are usually straightforward: “That’s a tree,” “that’s a bus,” “that’s a dog.” No sweat.
But sometimes, the questions keep coming and my wife and I have to think twice about our answers because our daughter has shown the propensity to use what she learns against us.
There was the time I was drinking a glass of Coke. She came up to me and asked (of course), “What’s thaaaaat?”
“It’s Coke, dear.”
“I want to try.”
“No, sorry, you can’t. This is only for big people.”
“But I’m a big girl now!” (Which is the line of reasoning we use whenever she cries: "Stop crying, you’re a big girl now!")
“Well… it’s for bigger people. You’re not big enough yet.”
“Dada is big so he drinks Coke?” (Well, it’s more like Dada drinks Coke so he’s gotten big, but yeah, something like that.)
A few days after that incident, I was asking her to take her afternoon nap. She refused to do so and was about to cry. So I gave her the usual spiel: “Don’t cry, you’re a big girl.”
She replies, “No, I’m not big enough.”
That’s not the only time she has made surprising conclusions on her own. She has already begun to associate which rooms in the house are for what purpose. We are trying to wean her off wearing diapers, so one day, before her afternoon nap, my wife reminded her not to pee in bed, to which she replies confidently, “Yes, Mama, I know, because the bed is not a toilet.”
Or there was the time when she was having difficulty doing her “doodie duties,” so we explained to her that it’s probably because she likes drinking a lot of apple juice. Her overkill reply?
“I will never drink apple juice again!”
I’m certain that parents everywhere can narrate thousands of similarly amusing anecdotes. The point is that the intelligence of young kids is amazing.
I’ve realized that we should not underestimate their capabilities; kids learn and pick up concepts easily and quickly. As parents, we should not forget this and do everything we can to encourage proper learning, not hinder it, for the good of the kids’ futures.
Telling things like they are
Book smarts aren’t everything, though, and we shouldn’t forget the emotional maturity of our kids, too. I received a jarring wake-up call from my daughter one Saturday morning as I was heading for the supermarket to do the weekly groceries.
As I was saying goodbye to her, she asks nonchalantly, “Is Dada going to the office?”
Ouch. Maybe there is something to that old adage “young kids never lie.” It suddenly occurred to me that I must have been spending way too much time at work such that whenever I go out, my child thinks I’m headed to the office again.
I decided to bring my daughter along that morning, which she was visibly excited to do. Many years from now, she may not remember going with her Dad to the supermarket to perform such a routine task as buying groceries, but we have to trust that the happiness she felt when doing so will linger in her subconscious and somehow help her as she grows into adolescence and adulthood.
Time is golden
For parents with kids who are beginning to talk, here's a helpful video:
Speaking of growing up, I’ve been told by friends who have much older kids than mine that I should treasure the time when the kids are young because the time will come when they have their own interests and may begin spending less time with the family.
With so many responsibilities to keep us busy, it’s often a difficult decision to spend time doing seemingly “unproductive” things such as watching children’s TV shows, reading children’s books, or pretending to whip up imaginary dinners and bake imaginary cupcakes.
But it really depends on what we consider as important to us, doesn’t it? I cannot dictate what you would consider as important for you, but here’s hoping that we put our families higher up on our priority lists and provide not just financial support but quality time and love as well, in whatever form you feel is best for them.
Our families deserve nothing less. - Rappler.com
There is the helicopter parent, the negligent parent, and then there’s Michael Gohu Yu. A doting father one minute who transforms into Homer Simpson the next, his writing on parenting reflects themes ranging from the humorous to the heartwarming. Whichever the case, though, he always aims to entertain parents of all ages.
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