15 December 2017, by Siau Jiahui
“My child never fails to amaze me.”
That’s probably how every parent would feel whenever they witness their kiddo performing a new “stunt”.
The other day, Little T was struggling to get down from my bed after she had done enough playing. Just when I was about to lift her down, she deftly turned around and positioned her body in such a way that her legs would safely touch the ground first while she prepared to slide down from the side of my bed, ALL BY HERSELF.
I marveled at her swiftness and dexterity and as I headed to the living room with Little T walking steadily in front of me, I asked my helper, Ti, in bewilderment, “Did she learn that by herself?”
“I taught her that, Ma’am”, Ti sheepishly replied.
Ti, being the main caregiver of Little T, was able to repeatedly teach her some skills on a daily basis.
With the help of Ti and other family members, I’m glad and grateful that Little T has hit most of her milestones and acquired skills that has made her the vivacious and mischievous imp that she is now.
However, my mentality was a tad different months ago. Admittedly an obsessive and possessive mother, I had yearned to impart to my child with whatever skills she needed to learn, with minimal help from others. I thought that would prove that I was an incredibly adequate and competent mother.
When Little T was approaching seven months, I scurried to get a straw bottle for her because I realised that other mummies were doing the same (ok, I admit that I was kiasu!).
After cleaning the water bottle and filling it with water, I passed it to her and demonstrated to her on how to suck liquid from a straw.
While I was eagerly waiting for Little T to do the same, she decided to innocently show off her biting/chewing ability on the miniature straw instead. -_-
Despite several consecutive days of highly personalized one-to-one demonstrations, my baby was only willing to gingerly place the straw into her mouth with no intention of sucking the water up.
Of course, that wouldn’t deter me from PERSONALLY teaching her how to use the straw correctly. I sought advice from fellow mummies and googled “How to get your baby to drink from a straw.”
After which, I bought a packet of straws from the supermarket, cut one straw to one-third of its original length, put the tip into a cup of water while placing my forefinger on the other end.
This method would hold some water in the straw and the objective was to release the water into the LO’s mouth once she displayed any sucking motion. That was an intelligent and surefire way to teach her to drink from a straw! Or so, I thought.
It didn’t work. AGAIN.
So I told my helper, Ti, to just give her the straw bottle every afternoon when I couldn’t rush back home in time. I mean, after fiddling with it for a period of time, Little T would definitely pick up the skill somehow, right?
Never did I thought that the very first day I delegated this teaching task to Ti, I would come home one day to Ti telling me that, “Baby knows how to drink from the straw already.”
It was like a bolt from the blue. -_-
After THE MOTHER has dedicated so much time and effort and tried all means to get Little T to learn this important skill (and failed), Ti managed to succeed on her very first try?!
“How did she learn?”, I asked Ti.
“I just showed her how to suck.”
“And she did it?”
My mind went blank. I had no clue whether to laugh or cry. My concoction of emotions osmosed into a singular emotion – DISAPPOINTMENT.
As a mother, I had wanted to be there to witness most, if not every, of her milestones. I want to be the first to see her first step, the first to hear her first word, and be involved in all of her “firsts”.
But I wasn’t there when she took her first sip from the straw!
“There would still be a lot of her ‘firsts’ which you would experience together with your daughter for the next few decades”, my BFF patiently explained.
“It’s like that for working mothers, especially. Unless you don’t have to work, if not, you won’t be able to spend as much time with your child as much as you would desire. Even SAHMs have their moments that their children attempted something for the first time when they were away for a few mins lah!”
She made total sense. Since that incident, I’ve become less insistent about witnessing Little T’s every “first”. Besides, there are lots of people who love Little T as much as me and would gladly teach her different skills needed in life.
And when I thought about it, it could be the lessons with me which helped her to build a good foundation so that she could successfully enjoy her first sip on that very day? After all, Rome wasn’t built in a day.
我不能抹煞自己的功劳啊！*gives myself a pat on the back* Good job, Mama T!