Phoebie has had to go for holiday programmed in her school for the past three days, so she was really happy when she didn’t have to go anymore this morning.
“Let’s go to the mall for breakfast,” I told her.
“Okay!” She was excited. “How about we go to MacDonald’s?”
“Again?” I was a little tired of fast food for meals. Seeing a gleeful nod from Phoebie, however, I gave in.
So we went to the fast food restaurant, got our food, sat down and started eating. I was busy trying to make sure Breyen didn’t fall off the seat while Phoebie happily chomped on her burger.
Halfway through breakfast, a family of four (dad, mum and two girls about Phoebie’s age) sat near us. The sisters were squabbling over who got to sit where. I didn’t pay much attention to them but Phoebie was watching the girls as they squabbled. I vaguely heard the girls arguing over who got to kiss their mum and who got to play with their mum’s phone.
What caught my attention was another family who sat near us. A pair of grandparents were out with a granddaughter (the elder who looked about six or seven) and a grandson (the younger who looked about two or three). The granddaughter was really sweet to her younger brother, pointing things out to him and gently kissing him every few moments.
I decided to point this sweet girl out to Phoebie. “Phoebie, look at that girl. She is so sweet to her younger brother. Did you see how gentle she is? She is showing her brother things and she kissed him gently many times,” I told Phoebie.
“No, I didn’t see. Mummy, did you see the two girls there?” Phoebie said, pointing my attention to the two girls she had been watching instead. “They are arguing.”
So instead of me getting to sharing a lesson with Phoebie about what I saw, she was about to share what she had seen.
“Why are they arguing?” I asked Phoebie.
“They are arguing because they both want their Mama. And they both want to play with their Mama’s phone,” she explained.
“Phoebie, isn’t this like how Breyen and you fight at home sometimes? Both of you want me and you start to fight,” I reminded her.
“Mm hmm… And Breyen always doesn’t share you,” she recalled.
“Well, that’s because Breyen is still a small boy and he doesn’t understand that Mama doesn’t only belong to him. We have to remind him nicely and help him learn that he has to share me with you and Papa, and even Popo and the two Jiujius too,” I said.
“But Popo and Jiujius don’t live in our house,” she exclaimed.
“Yes, but they are my family too, right? Popo is my mama and the two Jiujius are my brothers, so you have to share me with them too,” I explained again.
“Oh… Haha… Okay,” Phoebie said sheepishly.
I think I probably learnt more during this breakfast session than Phoebie did (although I really hope she learnt a thing or two). I learnt that:
- Kids notice different things than we do. While we see certain details, our kids may not see them and may be observing something else instead.
- When we share, we both learn. I wanted Phoebie to see what I saw and shared with her about the sweet girl who was being nice to her brother. Phoebie shared with me about the two sisters whom she noticed were arguing.
- Kids learn by observation. They notice what others are doing and are curious about why things happen.
- Everything can be a learning point. It is a matter of whether we as parents bother to explain things to our kids.
- Kids can be led to do reflections. (This is of course, subjective to age. I cannot expect my toddler Breyen to be able to reflect the same way my preschooler Phoebie can) All they need is some guidance.
A lot more than just food to digest from breakfast, but I hope I am helping Phoebie to learn the same way I am learning.