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Tag: living with guilt
In the same way, we try to fit in as many activities we can (and can afford) into a child's schedule to keep them busy and make them smarter! The same happened with Kit. A typical day for her used to be - go to school at 8am, come back at 4pm, have an after school activity (gymnastics, swimming, art, ice skating) till 5:30pm, shower at 6pm, dinner at 6:30pm and then prepare for bed by 7:30pm. - wow! exhausting!!
It was during one of these tightly packed days that I asked Kit if she could hurry up finishing her puzzle (which she had only just started) so we could be on schedule for shower and dinner. She looked up at me with her big eyes and solemn face and said - "Will I ever have time for life, mummy?"
Although I did not think much at the time, when I thought about it later at night, I realized that Kit was right. We try so hard to make them smart that we forget to let them be kids. Let them have fun.
So I learnt my lesson this year. Kit has an interesting schedule with activities AND fun included and most importantly, there is time for free play. There is definitely TIME FOR LIFE!
Kit is generally very excited about dropping Kat off in the morning and I cannot remember a day since Kit started school last year when it was the other way round...so that makes TODAY a very special day indeed...Kat had a Conference Day in school so she was overjoyed with her day off while Kit had normal school (they FINALLY realised they had given too many snow days away!)
Kit is very perceptive – we couldn't just tell her that Kat was staying home (I mean, which sibling can bear to see the other one stay home with mummy?) so we made a little plan – we told Kit that Kat’s school teacher was running a little late so her bus was late, blah, blah... and hence, Kat would drop her first (clever!!).
Kit was super excited and I felt a little guilty about making up this story but I did think it would do more good than harm, so I guess mums are allowed to do this, right?
We were all in good spirits, all was going fine and we were waiting for Kit’s bus when the doorman asked Kat why she didn’t go to school (as part of general chit chat) and I boldly answered for her: “She has a holiday at school” (I should learn to keep my mouth shut!!!)
Kit looked at me and then at Kat. Kat looked at me as if she couldn’t believe how dumb I was! (That I told you so look when your kids get older and start to think mums have lost it and today I did think I had!)
Was it that pressure of ending the conversation quickly that made the truth come out or was it the pressure of getting Kit to school or was it just the rush in general or just plain craziness? Whatever it was, I was not prepared for that look in Kit’s eyes.
Of course, I’m a mum and I quickly picked myself up from where I had stumbled (too low in my eyes I think!) and started the story about how Kat’s teacher was too late and now they might give a day off and so on...don’t think Kit believed me – she just kept quiet. I even gave her my cell phone to play with (a really special treat)
Finally, the bus came and Kit was on her way to it. She looked back and said to Kat –“You’re staying home with mummy today, aren’t you?”
I looked at Kit – “Maybe but remember I love you.” (Too tired to lie anymore. Could even feel a migraine coming on now...)
Kit (instantly): “more than Kat?”
“You do, don’t you? I know you do”
And she was off on the bus, sitting contentedly by the window, blowing kisses to both Kat and me, happy in the belief that I love her more than Kat...such innocence...such a carefree life...how I wish I was 4 years old!
Their love for me is so predictable...always the same...UNCONDITIONAL. Then why do I sometimes lose MY temper and on occasions have confrontations with even a (not yet) 4 yo? I could learn a thing or two from my girls.
What amazes me is that children do not even care about their own pain, their own feelings so much...all they care about is YOU. The other day I had to raise my voice with Kit to get something done as she would just not listen (typical ignore mummy behaviour). She ended up crying saying that she was upset because I was not happy. There have been instances where she thinks “I am sad”, “I am upset” or “my feelings are hurt”.
Kat used to do (still does) exactly the same. Many times, they will not cry for themselves - they will cry for me and those tears hurt me the most - I WILL end up feeling miserable!!
Children ARE truly innocent and for them, it is so important to please their loved ones. Yes, right - the pressure back on me. So we end up making up with a kiss or a sorry or whatever to get rid of the bad feeling!
Whether it’s been a tiring day for them or a truly challenging one, their faces will light up when they see me...even if they are upset, there is a little extra effort required but there is always hope – mother’s love can always help. Where is the magic? Why is not hurting me so important to my kids? I (honestly) never think twice when I am angry and regret later (have to apologise to Kat – Kit is more forgiving – like...in an instant!!)
If our children have so much love for us, are so forgiving and hold us before their own pain and feelings, I feel ashamed sometimes about the way I interact with them. They seem far more mature then I am – more in control of their life! Discipline CAN be achieved by love alone – we just have to believe in it. Kids are amazing and so is our relationship with them...and a mother’s touch? No matter what...ALWAYS comforting and loving!
She is sitting on her little chair next to my big one trying to distract me from my work and I am getting very frustrated. She brings one toy after another and tries to force me into conversations with her.
She vanishes for a few seconds and comes back all decked up in bracelets and necklaces and announces (fluttering her eyelids!) “I want to be a mermaid please. I don’t want to be human”. I can’t resist giggling with her – she does look so funny – Kit is so much into Ariel, Melody and their entire clan, that Kat is always hiding DVDs from her fearing that she will have to watch them in the car with her.
Next she’s just brought out some book which she wants me to read with her. When I said “No” (and I hated myself for this – as it’s like “who says NO to a book?”) Kit said “Can I read it myself?”. This made me feel even worse but as I was so busy I said it was fine. So she carried on with some foreign language in the background and then when she realised she was getting nowhere with me, she made the most heart piercing statement ever. I will enroll her for drama lessons soon...I must!
Kit: “You’re not a good mother, are you?”
I froze. I stopped doing whatever I was doing and looked up at her dumbstruck. How on earth did she pick that one up? How does Kit know that? That was my darkest secret ever!!
That did it. That worked. She got me. I am with her reading to her now and I have an Everest of a task ahead of me but that can wait…I can’t be a ‘not good’ mother, can I?