August 7, 2016

Spud Turns 6!

[Sunday Humour will resume next week as I’m making way for something more important today]

To my Not-So-Little Chatterbox,

My! My! We’ve only been living in the Netherlands for no more than 3 months and look at you rattling away. Full-on. In Dutch.

It’s impressive how quickly you picked up such a difficult language. Your astuteness of being able to take my cue and “rescue” me as you see me struggling to understand the spoken words when they converse in Dutch with me continue to amaze me. You’ve been my saviour with moments like those.

You know Spud, I wish I have half of your brain to just be able to sponge things up!

By default, you are now officially my personal translator.  Without you realising it, you have also become my teacher as you continue to teach me more and more Dutch words and even explaining the context of the words to me almost every day.  Sometimes you speak to me in Dutch, but you are still able to seamlessly switch between the 2 languages. That’s pretty darn impressive!

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When I told you that you have now become my teacher, you looked pleased. At the same time, you also thought that it was weird when it dawned on you that you do actually know more Dutch than I do. You wonder how that was even possible; you had thought I knew everything!

You didn’t think you would be the teacher to someone older than you, would you? Well, it happens! And you have been quite a star at that.

Believe it or not, Dutch has not been the only thing you have imparted to me. The reality is that you have also taught me so much more than I could ever bargain for.

When you were born, I know zilch about being a mother. I.knew.nothing. No amount of parenting books could prepare me for the journey into motherhood. A journey I know so little about. A journey into the unknown with my worries being the only certainties I had.

My worries were aplenty – I worry if I could cope with the realities of being responsible for my own flesh and blood. I worry if it was selfish of us to put another life into this world when the world is just a screwed up place. I worry if I will ever be a qualified candidate for a good mother; no one has ever been certified for that. 

The last 6 years has been a wild ride, let me tell you that! You put us on a very steep learning curve and threw us lots of curveballs along the way. You tested our patience and you continue to push your boundaries well and good.

If there is one difference from when you were 5, it has to be your defiance. That has become more intense as the months progresses. You defy just so you could pick a fight, especially with your Papa.

You created such a big fuss over the smallest thing with him – like not wanting to bring along your empty dessert box to throw it away even though you were already making your way to the kitchen to put your plates in the sink. I don’t get that – the bin is just next to the sink!

Your reason after you calmed down half an hour later: You were lazy. Plus the bin was smelly you said.

Right.

I understand when you said that it wasn’t your intention to make your Papa (or me) angry – you just wanted your way. And you get upset when you did not and cannot have your way. You hate it when that happens, but yeah..well…you can’t always get what you want. That’s just the way life is.

There has been a leap frog of emotions from you, indeed. And while it can sometimes be annoying because you get intensely stubborn about things and then we proceed with a battle of wills, it has been so refreshing to hear you articulate how you feel. Seeing you acting out  your frustrations on us, however…not so much!

Still, I’d say I need to get a better grip of myself when handling your meltdowns. You need a role model, not another adult who seem out of control and acting immature trying to “over-rule” you by screaming and yelling when the soft approach failed to work.

That’s not cool, I know. That’s also when I falter.

Those are the moments when I sometimes forget that you are still a child trying to figure things out. Screaming and threats do not solve the problem at hand; although occasionally, that would be the only way to get you to listen and comply with the things we needed you to do. Like learning how to be respectful.

But you…you, my child, has been nothing but kind to look beyond the parenting imperfections. You are non-judgmental to my screw-ups and continue to be forgiving when I thought I had failed as a parent. Every day you allow me to try again, without prejudice and a heart full of love.

In fact, you have been my pillar of strength in my moments of darkness. And my moment of darkness has been plenty. Still, you have been my biggest fan, cheering me to go on in ways only you know how.

Some months back, you told me that you wish for one thousand mamas.

A whole thousand Mamas!

My heart sank as the memory of you rejecting me came flooding in. I could not comprehend why you would need 1000 mamas. I felt that stab through my heart, thinking that you are starting to push me away yet again. I almost took offence but I decided to probe further to understand your train of thoughts.

Your response was nothing I could have thought of. You said:  “You always have a lot of work Mama and always tired. If there are 1000 Mamas, you can do other things and get some sleep! 

Boy! Oh Boy! How I laughed. There and then, you stole my heart. You can be the sweetest being if you wanted to. I could not have come up with that even if I try.

You then laughed heartily when I responded that having 1000 Mamas would be likened to having 1000 Spuds running around. And 1000 Spuds would drive me up the wall! You thought “driving me up the wall” was a very funny phrase.

Our nightly chats after bedtime reading have been precious and I never want to miss it. Even though you tend to jump from one random topic to the next in a matter of seconds (and sometimes I am so tired that I fell asleep while you continue to talk – I’m so sorry!), I still love how you are sharing more of your world with me every single night.

You get so enthused with the world around you. You think, you write, you draw, you read a lot and you question A LOT more than you used to.

From your world of make-believe, your pondering and your clarifying questions, I notice that our conversations have become slightly deeper. Each time you expect a reasonable explanation and would not stop asking to get to a satisfactory answer until you “get it”. How you have grown!

And before I forget, I think it is great that you have been consistently open to venture new food. You are always gamed to try every new food at least once or twice before you decide if you like it. Even the spicy ones! I’d say that’s a foodie in the making. Good stuff, there and you have no idea how proud I am of you!

You are growing up too fast and with me working remotely from home now, I am glad that I now have more time with you and your brother. While I bitch and moan about not working full-time,  I’m grateful for the opportunity to more spend time with you at such a crucial period of your life to provide you with the security that you need, for as long as you need.

The whole life ahead of you will be very exciting. It would also sometimes be painful but I plan to be with you for every step of the way.

Meantime, don’t you ever stop trying new food! Don’t ever stop asking questions! Don’t be afraid to try new things. Don’t you ever lose that sparkle in your eyes.

That said, I want you to know that you can always come home. No matter what. Even if I had threatened to throw you out of the house before or banish you in the shed or hang you by the laundry lines.

Most importantly, you can always ask me to bake you a home-made birthday cake. In whatever flavour you want. That’s a promise.

Happy 6th Birthday, dearest Sweetheart. I’m almost reluctant to even blink. Don’t you grow up on me! But please, oh, please leave the cat alone when she starts hissing or meowing in a very annoyed leave-me-alone tone. 

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With much love,

Mama


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Comments
  1. Lovely post and a very Happy Birthday to Spuds.

  2. Happy Happy birthday Spud! We almost share a birthday (depending on when yours really is). Mine is on the 8th 😀 Sounds like you are quite the little learner. Keep on teaching your mama!

    • Thank you, “Uncle**” Eric! Spud’s just a day before you (and a whole lot of years after you!). She’s teaching her Mama good and well, alright! Super, happy birthday to you, too!

      **Uncle not in an offensive sort of way; rather a gesture of respect for someone older in the Asian context.

      • I knew the *Uncle* thing from reading Ah-Dad 🙂 No offence taken. Spud is only 34 years younger! Imagine being able to switch between language as easily as switching shoes… I’m jealous.

        • Hehehe! Well, you’re looking youngish at your age, Eric! I know right! I’m with you on how easily they switch languages!

  3. Aw, I love reading your letters to your kids on their birthdays! So touching!!!
    Happy Birthday Spud! May you grow up loving, caring, and talented just like your mama! 🙂 (my granddaughter’s 4th birthday is tomorrow, the 9th)

    • 😀 Thank you so very much, Jas! And happy (belated) birthday to your granddaughter too! Apparently, Eric’s was 8th. LOL.
      My, it’s been a week!! Completely belated!!!

  4. Gen

    Beautiful post, Ann! Written from the heart, it’s clear how much you love your kids. Thank you for sharing this with us. Xoxo

    • Aww…thank you so very much my dear. lovely friend, Gen! You made me happy with your kind words. I do love my kids, sometimes it’s their attitude that kills me. :p

  5. Gefeliciteerd ! and Happy 6th to Spud.
    Such a lovely sweet post… I feel so much love from your words.
    It must be that magical bond between mothers & daughters yeah?!
    No matter how tired you get, the moment you looked at your daughter, its all worth it.

    I am pretty impressed that Spud is picking up Dutch so fast. It really helps that they are surrounded with the locals and children learns fast.Hopefully my daughter too.I’m sure you’ll get along quickly too. Goodluck Super Mama!

    • Dankje wel, Christina! I’m glad you enjoyed the post…it’s just something I do every year for my kids birthday and I hope to be able to keep this up. Something for them to read when they grow up. 😀 The bond between a Mother and Daughter will always be special, no matter how challenging it is.
      Tell me about it. I’m super impressed too and I’m trying to catch up. It’s hard!!

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