26 March 2013, by Violet Lim
I was in United Square last week when a shop in the corner caught my eye. It was a baking school for little kids. I decided to sign Corum and Cara up for a 1.5 hours cupcake making session during the March one-week school holidays.
They have been looking forward to the baking lesson for days. Hence today, they jumped right into the car when it was time to set out to United Square. They were extremely excited to don on the chef uniform and Cara looked especially cute in it I thought, haha!
It was not a parent-accompanied class, so I had a good time bonding with my sister in law who also decided to send my nephew for the lesson. We had lots of fun looking at them through the clear glass windows and taking lots of photos as they went about baking. From their expressions they sure looked like they were having fun!
They each baked and decorated 4 cupcakes which they could bring home with them after the class. When we got home, Cara in her excitement to show off her cupcakes to my helper, toppled the box and the design and decoration on all but one of her cupcakes were all smashed up. She got extremely upset and she started bawling her little heart out with big tears rolling down her cheek.
For a moment, I did not know what to do. I thought, should I make her feel better by asking Corum to give her one of his? Or perhaps pacify her by saying we will bake again soon. Honestly I too was getting upset because I thought, “Oh boy! The whole day has been going so well and she had so much fun. Is this moment just going to ruin everything?”
And suddenly I realized that this is actually one of these teachable moments that I have been reading in many parenting books.
I asked her, “Mei mei, why are you so upset?” She continued to bawl.
“Is it because your cupcakes are not pretty anymore?”
She stopped crying, and then she nodded.
“Mei-mei, even though the cupcake does not look pretty anymore, do you think it still tastes yummy inside?”
She thought for a second and nodded.
“Why does it taste yummy? Is it because you made it with a lot of love?”
She nodded again.
After wiping her tears away, we sat down with her on my lap and started to eat her yummy cupcakes.
Honestly, I am not sure if she really fully understood the lesson that I have shared with her today – ‘what is inside is more important than how it looks outside’ as she is only 3 years old. But I am glad that I identified this teachable moment rather than brushing her off for being silly which I might have in the past.
This incident prompted me to think about the perennial question – quantity time or quality time? Ultimately, quality or quantity, there must be time spent with our children. We cannot just leave all the teaching to the teachers and the school. As many educators and wise parents have put it, education does begin at home.