When your boys have too much energy and they have a few minutes before their next activity, you need to give them “work.” All of a sudden the house is calmer and I have my sanity back to continue with dinner.
As immigrants who later became US citizens, my parents (who spoke minimal English), never voted. They believed their votes didn’t count, so they never bothered. Growing up, voting was something other people did, just not us. We just didn’t care and I never saw the importance of it…until 2008, yes, very late in my “voting” life.
It’s cliche to say “it’s a different world now.” Well it is, almost every night during dinner my boys and l analyzed the local issues on the ballot, we learned more about the election process and of course we discussed the presidential candidates.
Tonight and in past elections, I took them to the polling place so they are very much aware of what the election is about and how important it is. It is a privilege, and not to be taken for granted. No matter how rich or how poor you are, no matter how old or how young (at voting age), everyone gets ONE vote. I explained to them many people had fought hard for us to so that our voices can be heard heard. So yes, this is a different and better world.
p.s. Thank you to all the volunteers at the polling place all over for your hard work and dedication.
May the best woman win!
Today, my co-worker and I had a long talk about letting go. She has a teenager now, and with just one, it’s extremely for her to let go. She’s going through an emotional roller coaster ride with her moody teenager. Her daughter was all she has, and she finds it extremely difficult to see the big change, in personality and life style.
At that point, I realized as a parent, raising children requires us to constantly letting go. I think I (as a parent) should be used to it by now. Don’t you think? From the moment a parent breastfeed her child to giving him solid food a year later, from driving them to places to having them take public transportation, or from making their meals to having them doing it on their own, it’s all part of the letting go process. As my boys get older, each step they take towards adulthood makes a little bit harder for me to hold on to them. Though each milestone is a celebration, the “firsts” are always bittersweet. In some way, that’s the irony about being a parent – how I always want to train our kids to become independent, yet we still want to slow down the time, so we can always hold them like a baby once again.
Boys have been coming home hungry, yes, they are growing. They have been digging through the pantry for snacks after camps. Instead of loading up the pantry with chips and cookies, today, I designated a snacks drawer in the refrigerator just for them. I filled it with fruits, baby carrots and cheese. Every week, I will replenish it with energy-boosting food to give them more healthier options.
The Girl moved back with her mom this week. In a blink of an eye, 3 years flew by just like that. In the last 3 years, she taught me how to be socially savvy – through SnapChat, Instragram, Vine, and what the latest social media tool out there. She understood sometimes the destination is not as important as the journey. “Live a little,” she would always remind me. She criticized on my fashion sense and helped me to be a little bit more stylish (that didn’t go very far). We discussed world issues and talked about personal matters. During our heated arguments or deep conversations, she preached to me what the new normal is, though I may not agree with it. The house got a bit quieter without her around.
Having the two girls in the last three years was a good learning experience for me (just relieved that I don’t have any daughters…hahaha). Hope they will bring with them all the good laughs and remember all my boring lectures. Though the Girl is not physically living with me, I told her I will still be on her back, checking up on her every now and then, just like she never left.
My MIL recently fractured the humerus bone on her left shoulder. We are constantly in and out of the house. I would make dinner and bring it over there, if not having dinner at their place. Since we have MLK off, Mr. Piggy is taking her to another doctor’s appointment. She needs a lot of help getting ready.
As a parent, you know you are doing something right when you see this:
No activities planned for today, so decided to lay low in the house. By that, I have mentally prepared a long list of things to do. In the morning, we did our routine Sunday writing and/or finishing up homework. The boys had so much energy this morning, I asked them to clean up their room, which they did a fine job. After lunch break, Mr. Piggy conducted a ‘how to clean bathroom’ workshop. The work was divided up by three parts – sink/counter (for the girl), shower (Dai Bee) and toilet (Ah Lo). Mr. Piggy gave them pointers and showed them how it’s done. We dropped off the cleaning supplies and off they went. Ah Lo finished first, and now has a newfound respect for clean toilets. While waiting for Dai Bee to finish up, he was willing to vacuum the living room. If this hasn’t tired you yet, in between all these chores, the boys did the laundry together and Dai Bee washed the dishes from last night. This is what I called a productive day.
This morning Mr. Piggy reminded me to slow down when teaching the boys Chinese. He is so right! I am teaching them like they studied Chinese for years. Well, technically, they have, but sadly, nothing got through for the last few years. Therefore, I am starting them fresh, at least for Ah Lo. My expectations should be just at that. There were times during lessons, I get frustrated because I find myself repeating the same word after just repeating it 3 seconds ago. Hopefully by adjusting my mentality will give me more patience and eases the frustration between myself and the boys.
Today the truth is told.
When I share with parents my boys’ development, many are very impressed followed by remarks like “you are so lucky,” or questions like “how do you do that?” or even as hideous as “your kids are naturally bright, you don’t need to do anything.” Well, my friends, I am lucky, yes, I know. However, please don’t assume bright children have it made, and so do their parents. Just like any other parents, I still need to wear the parent’s hat 24/7. I devote a considerable amount of time and energy to keep them engaged, to support their learning, and to keep the communication channel open. I have to constantly look for ways to impact their growth and development, in or outside the home environment. I work relentlessly to find ways to help build confidence, through projects, sports or extracurriculars. Parents need to put in your hours for things to happen the way you want. It just doesn’t happen overnight.
I don’t have a manual or reference book to go by, but I do know a few things. I know both parents have to be on the same page, have to be consistent and support each other. I know that from early infancy, when parents provide consistent, loving care, it strengthens the relationship between my boys and I. I don’t have any special tricks up my sleeves or magic potions to feed if you are wondering, although there were times I wished I did. I know I have to do all of the above in order to raise happy kids. Because I truly believe what Michelle Obama said, “when your children feel loved, everything falls in the right place.”
Not only am I lucky to have bright boys, I am also lucky to have my parents to guide and mold me as a person as I am today – from my dad, who always led by example; from my mom, who through constant nagging have instill good values in my life overtime without me knowing.
Today the truth is told.
Saturdays are laundry days for the boys now. Since this summer, Dai Bee picked up a life skill from his residential camp – doing his own laundry – which allowed us a little break. When he came home from camp, he was happy to do his share, and of course, dragged Ah Lo along the way. Both of them take care of cleaning, folding and putting away. Even if the laundry doesn’t turn out perfectly, at least it gets done. See how thrilled they look?
The same day, I invited my mom and sister (and her family) over dinner. This is also the first time I made abalone (frozen ones from Costco.) I got some tips from my other sister on how to make them. Surprisingly, they were pretty easy to make. They came out very delicious and tender, even my mom (with dentures) could gobble them up. Then there were the yummy fried chicken wings.