Friday, November 23, 2018

Children as great teachers

I used to hate putting my child to bed. It might take anything from 1 hour to 2.5 hours. You might want to have your child sleeping at 8pm sharp, but that will never happen. He'll toss and turn, he'll play around, he'll do anything except sleep. In the past, this used to vex me, because I was mentally counting the personal time that I had left. I love my kid, but hey, I've been looking after him for the good part of the day, and daddy needs some personal time alone to be 'myself' again. Out of 12 waking hours, surely having 2 hours alone is not an unreasonable request?

Apparently so. Just 5 mins ago, my son finally fell asleep. We tried putting him to bed at 9pm, so that was 1.5 hours of trying hard not to doze off while trying to make him doze off. It was only after a few months of dreading this nightly routine that I came to the realisation that it was not him who needed to sleep on time, but me who needed to let go of whatever is on my mind and live at the present with him. That thought freed me from the shackles of a regulated schedule and made me fully enjoy being with him. Yes, even those fussy moments when he just didn't want to sleep.

That's the essence of being a parent. It's not so much about the kid who needs to adjust to you, but more about you adjusting to the kid. If you see children as spiritual mentors who are here to educate you, then things are much easier. What have I changed to adjust to my child?

1. I started reading more physical books. I have a few e-book readers but in order to inculcate the habit of reading to him (or perhaps the culture of reading), I've been borrowing more physical books from the library. If we're not reading to him, we'll be reading in front of him. I seldom see a child that is a voracious reader and the parents are not. Not impossible, but it's just less likely.

2. I'm using an electric toothbrush for almost a year now. I wished I had it when I was much younger because it was such a great cleaning tool. But it seems I will now have to switch to analogue toothbrush now because I need to teach him how to use a toothbrush real soon. There are reports of children having very bad tooth decay at a very young age. As a compromise, perhaps in the morning when he's up I'll use the analogue one, and when at night after he fell asleep, I can use back the digital one. At least with that, I won't have to sacrifice my tooth for his!

There are many such incidents but I think I'll not bore readers with such mundane details. Suffice to say, before you want your child to change, perhaps you as the parent should begin and lead the way. Children are super sensitive towards double-standard. You smart, but they are not stupid too.


Singapore Man of Leisure said...


1. Hungry eat; tired rest.

A lot of "well intentions" are actually all about us; not what the other person really needs ;)

2. Children follow what we do; not what we say.

Funny how when most grew up, they've lost this natural skill...

Other people say, they believe!

Parents watch TV; children watch TV.

Parents read; children read ;)

Elisia said...

I'm a mummy and I can totally understand how you feel. There are times when I am silently willing my girl to fall asleep fast just so I get more 'me' time and she just doesn't seem to want to sleep. As the minutes tick by, my impatience grows. Then one day I realised that it is not her who has to change but me. Why am I getting so cross just because she is not sleeping and eating up my personal time? That's very selfish thinking. There are times when we adults can't fall asleep fast too.

la papillion said...


Thankfully I'm in this line, so I observe and I learn from the students/parents that I interact with. I'll even go on and say that being a tutor makes me a better parent, not because of the grades and academic stuff, but because I have a lot more experience dealing with kids and their issues. I can imagine if you only have a child, and you have to learn and excel with that one kid. Where got chance to fail?

After nearly 2 yrs with my kid, I'm still learning a lot from him on how to deal with things. Amazing..

la papillion said...

Hi Elisia,

You think so too, haha :) I think their body clock is more in tune with their nature than for us. When it's time to sleep, they will deep sleep. When it's time to play, they will play deeply too. It's only us who are in constant conflict between what our body needs and what we want to do.

Silly us, we should learn from them!

Anonymous said...

I love this post. I have a one year plus Nephew whom I love very much. At this age, he is busy exploring and throwing toys. Frustration do accumulate and I find myself losing patience. Even try to talk sense to him or threaten him lol. Though he will just look at me and smile:)
Reading your post makes me realise that it is to my selfishness that leads to my frustration. I would want him to follow my time table instead of me following him haha. Thanks ;)

Which is the toothbrush that you are using? I remember reading the post on it but I cannot find it now. Always wanted to get a electronic toothbrush but don’t know whether it is worth the money.

la papillion said...

Hi anonymous,

Glad you liked it :)

I'm using the Oral-B genius 8000 electric toothbrush that I bought from amazon during their sales period. Got it at sgd $140. I shared it with my wife, so we just bought different cleaning heads with the same motor. It doesn't have to be the same model, but I read that buying a rechargeable one is better than those battery operated ones because the power is much higher. I charge once every week, so not much of a hassle.

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