Water takes the path of least resistance.

Tuesday, 22 May 2012

BabyMoo is 1 year, 4 months, 2 weeks and 2 days old today.

DaddyMoo and I have talked about when is the right age to send him to nursery, and we have taken the time to explore several options and looked at different schools. We aren't ambitious parents, but we do recognise the necessity of BabyMoo having the opportunity to be introduced to the concept of play and socialising in a conducive environment.

Being full time working parents, we don't have the luxury of being with our son constantly as he grows and meets developmental milestones, and be as much of a positive influence as we would prefer to. However, we are very fortunate that he is looked after by people who are as concerned about him and love him as much as we do. He is looked after by his grandparents during the day, and has his 4 year old cousin for company, so he is more or less introduced to the concept of sharing from early on. He still is not able to grasp the idea completely (neither does his cousin, for that matter) but we are at least assured of his well-being in the meantime.

We are very relaxed with BabyMoo's exposure to the world (food, toys, games, programmes and play) whereas my brother-in-law prefers that his son grow up in a more 'controlled' environment. For us, we believe that a child learns through play, and mistakes are made so that they can learn from them. We don't attempt to disallow or ban something completely to protect our son - we would rather that he knows the intricacies of the world around him and be taught how to survive. We can't protect a child forever... there will come a time when he would be left to his own devices and rely on himself to find his footing in life.

Watching 'violent' cartoons or being exposed to programmes which have violent scenes does not make one a violent child. Children imitate everything that they see... it is up to us to tell them that while self defence is necessary, fighting others for the sake of inflicting pain and misery is not done. Making sure that you aren't a target for bullies and standing up for yourself is also necessary for survival. This does not only involve physical strength, it is also in the way one carries himself and the ability to convince other children that he is not to be messed with. When a child display certain traits that betray his 'sensitive' side, unkind children will definitely take advantage of this nature and make his life miserable not for any reason, but because they can.

The husband and I are of the thought that growing up in a regimented lifestyle does not make one a more 'docile' person, or even a civic minded person who follows rules. While personality traits are perhaps inherent or inborn, as parents, it is our duty to ensure that they are taught between right and wrong, as well as how to adapt to different situations. We try not to practice double standards with our child - although we do watch what we say and do now more than ever... as long as he is still impressionable and is yet not able to be educated reasonably on life's rules. We know that there will come times when he will shock us with seemingly 'innocent' words said because he's heard it said a million times before, but we have made a mental note to tell him that swear words should not be a part of every day vocabulary. It is simpler to tell him not to use it at all, until a point in time when he is able to recognise its 'effective' usage.

We want BabyMoo to be exposed to more children, and learn to co-exist with other little people so that he understands that the world does not only revolve around him or his needs. Right now, as much as we are lucky that he has an entire extended family who dote on him - as most kids are when lavished with attention - he has learnt to specifically earn it, albeit sometimes using wily ways. He observes and learns how the people around him react to certain things which he does, and turns on the charm, at times when he feels it necessary to milk the attention for all its worth. It's all child's play to him, and the adults react accordingly. At the risk of being biased, on the positive side, I think he's essentially learning how to survive - on his own.

Smug face - because he has us all twisted round his little finger.

When angry, count to 4. When very angry, swear.
Since BabyMoo can neither count nor swear yet, he just gives us this look!

The downside to it is he now thinks (most of the time he does!) that he can get away with everything. He doesn't feel the need to put a voice to his needs: He points at whatever he wants and he gets it, why bother? If the first time round he's not attended to, he mutters an "Unh!!" and his wish will be granted. He takes a new toy and offers to share it with his cousin long enough for him to observe how it works - and then off he goes toting the toy which automatically becomes his for keeps.

Mummy and Daddy are no fun, because they are the only ones who will tell him off and try to teach him the basics of sharing, on top of insisting that he asks for whatever strikes his fancy in words. Not that he isn't able to, or that he doesn't understand us... he understands conversations perfectly well, and does what he's told without Mummy having to nag on good days. He simply chooses to feign ignorance and pretend that he doesn't understand - when he doesn't feel like doing whatever it is he's asked to (which is most of the time).

"When there are always people at my beck and call making things so much easier for me, why do I even bother with having to open my mouth to ask for things nicely? And because I let people think I am a baby, not yet able to understand and hence gives me whatever I want - why does Mummy and Daddy say 'No' to me all the time? They aren't very nice people."

The "Mummy, you're so silly and I give up on you" look.

The situation is manageable for now. He still listens to us and we're happy to note that he has since started to apply what we have taught him even when we're not around. He takes his own toys, has learnt to dump put them all back in their boxes when he's done with play, and is more than willing to 'say' "Please" & "Thank You" via sign language. He is able to show us what he wants by walking to that particular item and indicating his interest, and this has eliminated frustrations (for both parent and child) on so many levels.

We think we'll start him out at 24 months... and hope that 'play school' will have a more than positive effect on him. School should teach him how to make a living, while we take care of guiding him on how to live. We most definitely will try.

He has his moments.

7 comments :

  1. "School will teach him how to make a living, while we take care of guiding him on how to live" - very well said :) I started sending my boy to school when he turned 2, so far it's been more positive than negative - such as learning how to scream when he is insisting on something (I've seen how some of his classmates screamed and he's never done that prior to going school). I've learnt to be more relaxed abt it and remember that during such situations, we just have to make sure we are there to correct them and guide them down the right path.

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    1. I think it's all trial and error from the first time they dropped in, ya? what works on one child may not work on another - so we really hope that he will enjoy school!

      The performance part is secondary... as long as he meets his developmental milestones and plays well with others, I'm not too concerned about whether he's able to recite the multiplication tables by age 3 or otherwise ;)

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    2. Agreed! I think some structured learning will be good for them =)

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  2. As long as the parents teach the children how to differentiate between reality and fantasy, violent cartoons are not really a major problem. If anything, children learn from their parents. If parents are violent with each other, they would think it's ok, and vice versa. With regards to school teaching children how to make a living, hmm.. Maybe they should stop with those ridiculously unrealistic Maths problems first! Hahaha....

    I can somehow see C fitting well with his peers, etc, already!

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    1. I hope so! And that he doesn't bully the other kids... :D Daddy is prepared to be called up for multiple reasons by the school, while mummy will go if there are any awards or accolades!

      Those Maths problems are unreal. I think I will get so 'wary' about Maths because I can only understand the English words in the problem sums!

      Now... to stop Daddy from being violent with Mummy!(He would swear it's the other way round) Haha!!!

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  3. Glad to find another mum who is very relaxed in exposing their kid to the world! Definitely agree that kids should be allowed to explore, to touch, to feel and to try instead of telling them "No you can't do this" everytime. Love reading this! Thanks for popping by my blog too!

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    1. Hi Summer!

      I always read your posts - as you mentioned, I can identify with your 'parenting style' as well!

      Kids are naturally curious. At this age - telling them 'No' will just make them wonder 'why not' instead. As long as safety is observed (that's adult supervision!) I think they learn via experience more effectively.

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