Friday, October 15, 2010

Time of my life, living in hope

Earlier this evening I said to "my boys" how I always enjoyed our meal times together.

Son was telling good jokes and giving good reports of life at school. What more do I want?

Had to explain how when I was his age meal times were served over two hours. Because of the wide range of our ages and the two-session school system, my siblings and I never seemed to sit down at the same table.

Either I came home far too late to eat with any of the family (older siblings would have eaten and gone onto evening classes) or I had to eat way too early before I set off for school. That is why I always made it a point that our family sat down together for meals.

No TV. No books. And lately no talk about Lego and computer games.

We're at the end of our first half-term. There has been many changes, not least of all that son is walking to and from school by himself.

He's supposed to be at a 'silly age'. But he's also getting more and more responsible and I AM NOT COMPLAINING.

For example, he's up at 6.40am, checks that I have finished showering and then turns on his own shower.

He takes his own breakfast things back to the kitchen. Without my telling him.

He changes into his school uniform, makes his bed, etc. and gets himself ready for school without my prompting, well, apart from reminding him to have a fresh handkerchief. He likes one particular handkerchief more than others, it seems.

He still needs reminding about packing his games and PE kit sometimes, but he does it all by himself.

At the appropriate time he would tell me (as I am busy answering emails), "I think it's time to go to school," and he goes.

When he comes home from school he eats a snack (usually a variety of biscuits) and moves on to his homework. Yesterday he came home and announced that he had finished his History homework during lunch break at school.

My reaction: "But you must play! You must give yourself time to play at break."

"It's OK, Mum. I did play at first break."

Since their homework was doubled this year it is good to see how he is managing his time.

Today he tells me that he is bringing his work with him on our short holiday so that he could revise. I said I'd rather he did not do that as I wanted us all to have a relaxing time.

I'll let him bring his books. Whether or not he actually revises will be up to him.

My only question is when would I start to find him doing his piano and clarinet practice without my reminding him! I live in hope.

This morning I saw a young mother struggle to change her baby's nappy. The daughter was going through the "I am not going to lie still" stage.

My son went through that stage. He was always big for his age. So changing his nappy was physically exhausting and I often ended up in tears.

You cannot reason with a big baby, and I lived in hope that he would grow out of it.

He did.

And as I witnessed a grandmother then change her toddler's nappy -- and this little girl kept still -- I told the first mother to watch.

See, they do grow out of it.

Talking to some of the younger first-time mothers I was surprised that many have never heard of the "terrible two's". O well, never mind. They will soon learn about it.

The point is I am having the time of my life, enjoying my still-sensible son at a point when he is well able to look after himself but before he becomes a stroppy teenager.

And I live in hope that the relationship we're building up would mean that he would at least treat me with trust and respect when his stroppiness sets in.

Husband and I are eternally grateful to our friend who spoke at our church wedding. The message we came away was "give each other space".

I wonder if the "giving space" principle also works on teenagers. If we gave him space, would he give us respect?

In fact we are going to give him so much space that we might live in a different country altogether! We'll see.
And then 16/10/10 husband chanced upon this report: Are middle class parents driving their children to depression?

This is why we (together) opted for me to stay at home. Until he was about three years old, our son saw his dad for three minutes every evening before he was put to bed. (Sometimes Singaporeans call this process "put to sleep". Parents don't mean an intention to kill their offspring, let me assure you.)

The full attention son received from me led to other issues, but that is a different story. The point is, this was noticed and we could intervene as soon as possible.

Children are only children once. Let them enjoy their childhood.

26/10/2010: One in 10 families NEVER has an evening meal together

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