I have a twelve year old daughter. Her name is Myra . She takes after her mom, only more witty and prettier, oh do bear with me while I indulge in vanity. To express how witty she is, allow me to narrate to you her conversation with both her grandparents over the phone. The scenario was she needed her grandfather do something for her. I was driving when the conversation struck over the phone. It went something like this.
Myra : Tok, can you please send me to the Ice Skating Ring tomorrow?
Tok : I can't, I have some work to do tomorrow.
Myra : Tok, at your age, you shouldn't be working.
Tok : Then I shouldn't chauffer you around.
Myra : You made your point Tok. Good Nite.
Feeling dissatisfied after ending the call, Myra called up the house again and spoke to the grandmother. The conversation went like this.
Myra : Babah, can you get Tok to send me to the Ice Skating Ring tomorrow?
Babah : You have to ask Tok. He is the "kepala of the house".
Myra : I did, he said "No"
Babah : Then what you want me to do? He is the head. The head makes the decision. We
all just have to follow.
Myra : Babah, we all know that men are the heads, but we women are the necks Babah. We
can control where the head turns.
I almost ran into the devider trying not to laugh too much at this by the way.
I find children are a source of inspiration. I learn a lot from my daughter. I learn that people hardly use floppy disk anymore, instead , a thumb drive, something I would have thought to be silly as no one could possibly drive using only their thumbs, had she not told me about it. ( Ah well, I was slow in IT, but it is never too late to pick up new things...learning is a lifelong process).
The children today are so much different from how we were back then. We had no cellphone, no computers, no play stations. Okay, I am beginning to sound like my Dad going, " I use to walk 7miles to school cutting through jungles and rivers...." Well, I guess from just three generations, the life led by each, portrays the insidious onset of development. We have the National Economic Policy to thank for that, but again, this is but another story that I suspect I shall address pretty soon.
Another concern is the amount of exposure our children receive from daily life. Looking at my Myra, I think she is more matured than i was, given that age. It is the exposure they get from school and television. We have Astro with so many channels to choose for viewing. There are also books ever more thicker. I wouldn't have dreamed reading a book as thick as Harry Potter at the age of 9 years old, I was quite contented with Enid Blyton's series. I guess children now are more knowlegable. My daughter never cease to amaze me with her knowlege, sometimes to the point of shocking .
Take for instance , regarding sex. It was such a big taboo back then. Myra came up to me , at the time when she was 11years old, and posted the question that would have made any mom to never be the same again, "There is this lesbian who has been bugging me for sometime". After the shock in some part of my temporal lobe had settled, I gained composure and decided to dig further by pretending to be frivolous, and asked her," Are you sure? Or you are speculating? I am sure she is just trying to be friendly" . And to that I got what I deserved, " Ummi, trying to be friendly is when you lend someone an eraser or something like that. Staring at me from across the classroom with the expression I get from Krishnan (Krishnan was, or probably is , given half the chance,Myra's longtime "stalker" in school and bus ride home, but that is another story) is definitely NOT FRIENDLY".
I was adamant to stay daft and see how deep the rabbit hole goes. After all, mothers need to know how much the child knows hence, I ended up asking her," What is a lesbian anyway?"
By this time, Myra rolled her eyeballs up, a sign I get a lot sometimes," how can you not know what lesbians are!!! You are a doctor for God's sakes!!! You're suppose to tell me all the answers!!!" ( Gawd!!! If only she knows we doctors actually take the Hiprocrite instead of the Hipocrates oath!! Pretending to know it all is the qualification of a doctor...)
Okay, eventually, after fighting my own discomfort of speaking about sex,(to the underaged anyway ), I took one deep breath and explained to her, well, almost everything, whatever I know about lesbians anyway, and God help us all...But I guess it is better to explain to your child whatever bewilderment they have at thought rather than them picking up bits and pieces from unreliable sources. I felt like I've relieved my constipation as I let go of my breath at the end of the explaination. It wasn't so bad after all. I survived the ordeal. Well, I think I did the right thing. I wouldn't want her to grow up having a knowlege about adolescent in a way I did. I thought I was going to die of Cancer when I experienced my menarche ( first menses ), enough said!!!
My daughter is never rude to me ( except under her breath). I cannot tolerate rudeness, above anything else, and my daughter isn't going to be raised otherwise. But sometimes, she may appear to sound rude because children have a gift of innocence, something we adults had lost along the way to our 79th birthday, apart from our virginity, hence bluntness, I have often mistaken her bluntness to be rudeness. During my time, "talking back" is definitely asking for a slap that could correct an overbite. But I think, it is okay for us to allow our kids to "answer back" as we need to know what is going on in their minds, if ever we want to correct them. Supressing their freedom of expression with threats of a slap isn't going to help. I suppose the right thing to do is to listen, sometimes grit your teeth and hold your breath then count to 10 ( children are God's way of punishing those who are impatient) then if it is being expressed in a rude manner, we , as parents will have to correct them with good reasoning.
Yes, I learn so much from my daughter, sometimes I feel that I am not reciprocating. I look at her and I cannot help but wonder, what surprises will I learn from next?
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