I don’t know about you, but my 4yo and 6yo seem to pick up what mummy and papa say quite well. And sometimes they remember words from last time too. Omg.
They say don’t talk down to kids, and don’t lie to kids. Dear1 and I have been consciously trying to do that since Baby1 was born, and we’ve maintained the same stance to Baby2 too. We always try our best to talk the same level with them, and we rack our heads to warp the unmentionables into factual statements so as to avoid telling any white lies. But at the end of a tired day, or when you are in a rush, tempers flare, your own emotions run high and @#$%^& comes out from your mouth unknowingly. Don’t think kids don’t pick these up, because they do. Before you know it, they internalise this, and @#$%^& comes out from their mouths too some time later. OMG!
The ‘experts’ say children are like sponges, so read to them, play with them, bring them outdoors and explore, teach them new languages, sign them up for abacus and creative thinking and programming and music and singing and arts and science and math. But few experts emphasize the importance of how adults should watch ourselves when we interact with children. I say adults because I mean ALL adults, not just the parents. You, mummy and daddy are definitely at the front of the line, but same goes for the grandparents and teachers and aunties in school and stall owners and bus driver and the auntie who chat up with us on the bus. Basically, anybody who comes into interaction with children.
Children are like sponges – they take in what they see and hear, and translate these into their own protocol.
As a FTWM, I frequently excused myself when Baby1 and Baby2 misbehaved. Half of myself and my time was fully committed to work, 9 hours for sleeping and recharging my drained-out cells, and the remaining 3 hours to Dear1 and the 2 kids. Do housework, coach spelling and homework and piano practice, cuddle everyone, cook. I didn’t want to waste any precious time to be the black face and correct the kids’ misbehavior.
The moment of truth came during our 2 weeks holiday in Japan earlier this May. Before the end of the first week, I was super maddening angry with both kids. For the first time in 4 years since Baby2 was born, we spent the whole 24 hours together everyday with both kids, and I realised to my utter astonishment that they have soooooooo many bad habits. Where did they learn these from!? I knew there were bad habits, but why are there so many!? How will they grow up from here? I was crushed.
After a painful cut, I am now a SAHM. There are various competency levels for SAHMs, and I am still pondering on the kind that I want myself to be. But I know for sure that apart from imparting knowledge to my 2 girls (I mean, I have to make good use of my 15 years of education right? What better way than to be an educator to my own 2 girls), I want to teach them manners and respect and gratitude as well as other life skills.
And while doing all that, I need to constantly keep myself in check, in my words, in my actions and how I carry myself in front of them. Gambatte, mummy!