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Archive for February, 2012

PostHeaderIcon When your child wants to be the teacher…

My 9 year old daughter likes being in charge. While that’s not necessarily a negative trait, there’s a right time and place for everything. In kindergarden, her teacher told me that I have a very bright young lady who possesses remarkable leadership qualities, but that we need to work on her trying to be the teacher.

That was my first time being a mother of a kindergardener. I was a little confused but challenged. I see every situation as a learning possibility so I picked up some books and called some friends who have older kids. So I sat my little girl down and told her that I wanted to chat with her. She was all ears. I started out by telling her how mama loved school and loved teaching and how I was one of the best students in my class when I was a kid like her. Then I went on to tell her that unless she becomes a good student, she can never be a good teacher to which her reply was,” mom, but I know everything in class and that is why I help Mrs. Goins teach other kids.”

Oh boy! This was going to be harder than I thought. Kids these days have an answer for everything. So I said, “Well if you know everything, how about we talk to your teacher and ask her to become your student and from tomorrow, you can teach her class.” The conversation was as follows:

Marya: Mom, does that mean I have to stand in front and teach everyone?

Me: Yes.

Marya: But mama, I’m still small.

Me: But you know everything.

Marya: No, not EVERYTHING!

Me: So how shall we handle this?

Marya: But I like to help mom!

Me: You can help when help is needed. The rest of the time, you should be busy being a learner so when you grow up, you can teach all you want.

Marya: I will try that.

At the next parent-teacher conference, her reviews were better. I had asked her teacher to reprimand her if she spoke out of turn or if she volunteered herself too much. I’m not sure what clicked in her mind. But one thing I realize is that I need to talk to this child of mine like a grown up. She has this bubble of energy inside her that needs to come out but must be controlled if not contained. Every child is different and as a parent, we have to figure out what works.

PostHeaderIcon Space, the Final Frontier

…These are the desires of starship, mom.

And so you love being a mother. I do. It isn’t exactly a thankless job as you get rewarded each day by  a special hug and wide-eyed indication of how awesome you are. Its very important not to shift your focus from the pleasant happenings for the mundane responsibilities can sometimes be very trying. For example, have you noticed how your little chid always needs you to wash them in the loo right when you sit down with your feet up with that so perfectly brewed cup of coffee? Or just when you are visited by a great thought and want to write it down in your blog, all of a sudden everyone needs you for this, that and one more thing.

Space. I need my space. I need alone time where I do not exist for anyone, where I am not accountable for my expressions or choice or words, where I am not answerable for my attitude. You see, I exist, and am therefore a living creature that needs a comfortable spot that has a shield around it. I’m not asking for much; just an hour maybe to relax and unwind, to filter the nags and whines of the day. I need silence, a silence so still that I can only hear what I have been trying to say all day.

And when I am able to enjoy that little space, I’m energized and positive and happy and cheerful, and I’ll be the best mother I could ever be. Mothers, please do not deny yourself that space for if you do, the burnout can stretch into a very painful battle of the minds.

PostHeaderIcon Teaching your child to speak “right”

This has been a goal of mine for a while.

There is immense power in the spoken words I believe. I read somewhere that your ears hear what you say and the messages get transmitted to your mind which formulates action plans accordingly. So, in essence garbage in = garbage out. It’s pretty simple. And I think it makes perfect sense. Have you noticed how you can wake up one morning and say to yourself, “oh today is going to be a lousy day” and have you watched how the day actually turns out lousy? But if you wake up and start the day with a good attitude, chances are you can find positive energy to pick yourself up when you stumble.

So I am trying to instill the same fundamental thought process in my children. My older one, 9, is at the age where she is discovering her mind and her whims and fancies. If things don’t go her way, she could get into a little hissy drama consisting of negative words that program her to believe that life isn’t fair, or right. The mind works like a computer and you, my little friend, are responsible for programming it. So let’s start early.

A book by Dr. Shad Helmstetter entitled “What to Say When You Talk to Yourself” recommends putting together a “self-talk” which consists of words of positive reaffirmation and such, which when repeated make an impact in the way you feel and act. You could also construct sentences that help you overcome your fears and doubts so if your little girl is afraid of the 11 feet in the swim class, you can write a line in her self-talk saying: “I am an awesome swimmer and am NOT afraid of swimming in a deep pool.” It works. It’s like a magic pill that bursts into little belief sparkles when you say it. So my daughter and I drafted her self-talk and every morning before she leaves for school, she reads it out aloud with confidence and belief and I see her getting energized for a great day ahead.

PostHeaderIcon Someone you love…

and someone to love you back.

 

That is what this mother-child relationship is all about. When I was pregnant with my first child, I’d wonder what kind of love I would have with my child. Would it be unconditional, would it be intense, stable….oh those wondrous nights of anticipation mixed with the discomforts of a growing belly and endless blood tests for having being diagnosed with gestational diabetes.

When I was a kid and way into my teen years, my medical records indicated that I needed special attention during blood tests as I always passed out. A few times, I even fell on the ground and hurt myself. And here I was, a few years laters, pricking my finger at least 4 times a day to monitor my sugar levels. I had little holes in all my ten fingers and by the time I was ready to give birth, I was running out of space. A few weeks before my due date, I was driving back from work, a 40-50 minutes drive, extremely uncomfortable behind the wheel, struggling to find a spot to adjust myself. My check up earlier that day revealed that I was nowhere near ready but I just didn’t feel right. The weekend that followed was very painful. One part of me knew the time had come, while the other part of me was feeding on the last thing my doctor had mentioned. Well, Sunday night, I had to step out of bed and go to the guest room in tears because the contractions had gotten severe. I called the nurse and she asked me to record the timings and to drink some orange juice. I made 3 more calls and then my husband woke up. I wanted to go to the hospital but was buying time until the morning as it was the holy month of Ramadan and only a couple of hours were left before my husband could have his breakfast before sunrise. But by that time, I was on my hands and knees, gasping, hoping that somehow I could make it to labor and delivery through a transporter beam, like the Star Trek ones.

When I got there, I was asked to start pushing.

So all these months of falling in love with that little seed seemed to have been pushed aside by a biologically-mechanical process of giving birth. And for you moms out there, you’d agree that you experience a taste of death, especially if you’re being heroic without any epidural.

SO there. A few hours later, you’re blessed with this tiny human being, that is yours, a hundred per cent. What happened to the pain, the discomfort, the pricks, the agony of childbirth? When they set her in my arms, it was like I knew no pain or misery, that I was perhaps the luckiest woman on earth to have received this beautiful gift from the almighty, that I must have done something good.

And since then, I try to remind myself of the sweet innocence and power in that bond when I lose my temper unjustly. I know I am human and by no means perfect, and as a mother, I sway sometimes. So at times like these, I breathe a breath of gratitude knowing that I have someone to love….and someone to love me back.


PostHeaderIcon Know the No

There are days when I want to say no to everything my daughter wants. She will have a series of demands ranging from needing a new notebook to buying a present for her friend “just because.” I’ve learned to swallow my irritation during those times and engage in conversation instead. She’s a child. She needs attention. She needs direction. Two of the strongest virtues of a parent are selflessness and patience. Selflessness and patience. Patience and selflessness, and keeping your eye on the goal.

Yesterday was one of those days when she asks me why I can’t sleep with her in her bed. This has been a struggle for the both of us. One part of me wants to let go and the other part knows she’s old enough to lower this security net she has established for herself. I could have just be done with a no and walked out on her but I tried to explain that it is healthy for her to sleep on her own and enjoy the comfort of her own space, and that it’s part of growing up. She said, “mom, I know you want the right things for me, but do you know how much it means to me when you cuddle me at night? It takes all my fears away.” So I lay down with her and rubbed her back, like I do pretty much every night, the only difference being that I decided to take on a new attitude and put aside the battle we fight, the endless series of verbal fencing and consequently, a heavy heart. She fell asleep in a few minutes. As I got up to leave, she said, “thank you mama. That means a lot to me.” Oh the sighs of tough love. But last night I realized that sometimes a yes can help achieve the same results but with lesser turmoil. I walked away happy and successful, for she slept peacefully, reassured that mom cares.

 

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