ageing bath time best friend birthday books brushing teeth celebration child play fashion fear fighting with each other goldfish growing up hair happy with looks health holiday how children copy kumon learning new words living with guilt love mealtime with kids morning with kids music play date reading school silly talk with kids sisters sleep habits snow sorry swimming with kids teasers therapy thumb sucking weekend working from home
Sometimes I ask myself and wonder – has she already been ready for this and I have never let go? Quite possible but there is always time for change and I feel we both are ready now – she is adapting and so am I. Guess there is no real time frame for such things – it just happens when you are ready.
Papa is always the one to push us along with morale and confidence boosters – he came up with the ‘That is the person I want to be’ saying which is now pasted in Kat’s room alongside Selena Gomez and Taylor Swift – very apt for these ‘growing up years’ for Kat as what she learns now leaves an impression forever.
With growing up, come more emotional breakouts, need for frequent reassurances that all will work out fine. We’re working on it...getting there very slowly.
As for Kit, she is always ready to find mistakes in Kat with comments “Why has Kat not cleared the table yet?” or “Look, her clothes are still on the floor!” or the classic “Why is she not listening to you? It’s ok, I will do this for you mummy.”
Kit Kat go to the same school (different divisions and different buses) and although Kat’s is much further away than Kit’s (for a couple of years at least), that does not stop Kit from complaining that she gets hungry on the way back...the school has a "No Food" policy on the bus and I have always stuck to that. Now here comes the problem – I am one of the many mums who will comply with what the school says but when your kid comes across a happily munching kid on the bus, you are in for some serious conversations! While Kat (now of an age where she understands right and wrong...well, I hope!), I am often faced with heart breaking questions from Kit.
Kit: “Why does ABC get candy on the bus and you never allow me?”
Me: *sigh* “Kit you know you are not allowed to carry food. It’s dangerous to be eating when the bus is moving and there is no adult around you. ABC is NOT doing the right thing.”
Kit (sounding hurt): “But she still eats it and I can’t. One day I asked her for candy and she said no”
Me: (this one really breaks my heart – how can someone whose parents are doing the wrong thing be able to hurt MY child’s feelings!) I still go on… “You have to understand Kit. You don’t have to ask her, if you need something, you ask me when you get home” (the bus ride is not more than 15 mins for Kit)
Kit is not fully convinced (I can figure that one out) but turns away and changes the topic. What did I just become? A monster? A horrible mum who allows her baby to look at other kids eating on the bus and whose little girl wishes she had the goodies? Is it ok to be so righteous all the time? Is there an easy way to explain to a 4 yo that what everyone on the bus is doing is wrong but your mum is right?
It angers me when I see how other parents cannot relate to this. Who in their right mind should send a 4 yo with chewing gum on a school bus? I mean it can truly become a choking hazard - are they not aware of that? Are these the parents who are always eager to do everything/anything for their kids because they don’t have time to talk to them or reason with them? It would be so easy for me to send Kit with a little snack for the return trip and that would be the end to all this moaning but then I ask myself “Is that the right thing for me to do for her?” “Am I teaching her not to obey the rules by setting an example myself?” Kit may ‘like’ me more in the short term (if I agree to everything she says) but I am confident that in the longer term, these values will become second nature and she will respect me for that.
Kit has also witnessed me complaining to the Transport Director about this issue and only yesterday I brought it up with the bus driver who has promised this will never happen. So I hope this will teach Kit to fight for the right cause and be strong(er) in the years to come.
Kat took some time to understand the ‘rules’ but now knows very well that I will not stand for anything wrong and this has helped her become much more assertive in her dealings with others. Even if my righteousness brings only an iota of benefit to my girls, I am willing to stick with it.
We have a huge responsibility of instilling virtues in our kids and any parent knows how much hard work (with very little reward, if any) it is. This does not mean we back off – this is our job. Period.
Kit and Kat are slowly becoming the sisters who share and play together (it’s taken a good number of years!) and the most imaginative part of this love is their playtime together (courtesy Kat) – lovingly described as ‘School School’ by Kit.
Kit is seated on her little blue IKEA chair (originally Kat’s) – very straight and attentive. Kat makes up this grown up voice and reads out names from an ‘attendance sheet’ – for imaginary students, Kat makes up different voices to say ‘Present’ – when Kit’s name is called out, she immediately responds and also raises her hand to show her presence.
Attendance over, Kat (still in her grown up mode), announces the schedule for the day. Some days, Kit actually has a sheet with the activities for the day (courtesy my printer!).
Activities include story writing time (where Kit tells and Kat writes), spelling time (making use of a whiteboard where Kat writes ‘dog’ etc and Kat spells it) or going over the big world map on the wall.
School School also includes ‘Kumon time’ where Kat helps me tremendously by assisting Kit with her math and reading sheets (some days though, this JUST doesn’t work!) . Also interesting are the little workbooks that Kat prints from the internet purely for playing with Kit. She has now even started using her own pocket money to buy actual kindergarten workbooks (pocket money that was earlier being spent only on iTunes and her own stuff – very impressive!)
When Kat is done playing in the morning session, Kit is assigned homework which she very religiously completes!
There may or may not be another sitting on the same day but whenever Kit Kat decide to play School School next, out comes the big box from the cupboard filled with folders, colours, worksheets and School is ON!
She tries very hard to use all newly acquired words in her regular conversation SO we usually have (wise) comments like “I can see the constellation” during lunch time or “I am very depressed” when there is an argument with Kat.
What I find most interesting is her age calculation. If anyone asks her age and I say 4 years, Kit insists on saying that she is 4 and a quarter! Also, her goal is to be same age as Dora (!) who is (as per Kit) 5 years old (not a bad guess!) and Diego is 11years (surprisingly the same age as Kat)
...and so the word (and number) quest continues and in this journey we come across words like never before – “I goed (‘went’) there” , “I putted (put) it in my cupboard”.
The other day I got a hand made book which read “Bad Tme Stores” – yes, you guessed it – BED TIME STORIES!
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!