Saturday, November 24, 2012

Conversations by the Sea

Today we pack up and leave this divine spa getaway to go home to reality and go home to being parents to JED. We miss them muchly but these few days have been great. Among all the reading, eating and the massages, we've also managed to reconnect.

It's always hard to be a couple with 3 kids. We become 2 people parenting 3 kids and we become just their parents. We are thankful that even in Singapore, we sometimes get little time outs to be with one another but it really takes a plane ride and a great body of water in between for us and our responsibilities to really throw down the shackles of parenthood and just be us and talk like we used to when we were going out and just getting to know one another.

So when what did we end up talking about?

1. Our next big family holiday plans.
We don't go for very long with talking about other holiday plans. I suspect that's how we survive. Hanging on till we can next skedaddle out of town. But this time, instead of fanciful dreams, we could talk about the logistics, how much money we had to save for it, how we were going to save the money we needed for it since, note, I did say BIG family vacation.

2. Our responsibilities as parents.
We parent everyday. Sometimes we don't have time to think about what we are doing, let alone discuss it with our spouse. So we talked about what aspect of parenting stressed us out the most. I talked about how much I feared having to be in charge of their academic work. Packrat talked about how he worried about how he was going to impart the values we so believed in, to the children.

3. We talked about our kids.
It's hard not to talk about them. But we weren't talking about them in the "see what they did today" kind of way. But we sat and talked objectively about them. Their strengths, their weaknesses and how to help them grow their weaknesses into strengths. For instance, Jordan has an eye for beauty. Jordan is extremely athletic. But she doesn't like anything that is too difficult to do or too hard. She likes it to come easy. Our challenge with her is to convince her to that some things are worth working hard for so that she gets even better at what she is good at. And then, Evan who is bright, wise and sensitive but so sensitive to failure that it strips him of the confidence that should come with his ability to achieve. How do we, teach him that failure and disappointment are fleeting and the important thing to do is to pick himself up, dust his knees and go on? With Muffin, the cheekiest of the lot who loves to push boundaries, how do we teach him that certain boundaries cannot be crossed yet allow him to venture far and wide, because with that audacity comes greatness?

It felt a little bit like what we do as teachers where we assess our students objectively, based on what we see.

4. We talked about our futures.
We talked about what we wanted for ourselves and what we wanted for our families. We talked about what we wanted for each other. We even talked about what sort of parents-in-laws we would be, even though our kids are not yet even in primary school. Apparently, I need to internalise the eye roll and I have about 20 years to perfect that one. Since it took about 20 years to master, yes 20 years to internalise it sounds just about right.

Yes, much of what we talked about still revolves around the family and about us being parents. But the difference is that it became a safe environment to do so, it wasn't antagonistic, defensive and it wasn't about anyone winning or losing. It was just views, opinions and values up in the air.

We need more of this; to be able to do this more often. But with 3 pre-schoolers, we are thankful for what we can get and this time, especially after Packrat's long absence and whirlwind schedule upon return was God-sent! Enough for us to feel ready to face JED and all their shennanigans again!

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  1. I love this post. Everything about it. Thank you for sharing such an intimate conversation you had during your vacation.
    I am a worrywart. Even though Immanuel is not two yet, I feel a sense of dread to see him so unadventurous. He is bright but safe. And the dilemma is, safe is supposed to be good but somehow, that is not what I want for him. And then, I consider if I want him to live dangerously with wild abandon and I realised that is not what I want. But I want to see more cautious courage in him, something he lacks currently.
    Right now, due to his "lily livered" personality, it means I can leave him upstairs on bed or in an open room without fearing he will jump out of his bed or walk down the stairs by himself (there is only so much we can babyproof and yes, we do have gates for the stairway but a danger section exists).
    This makes me less jumpy but somehow, yes, I obsess about the weakness of this trait. I feel neurotic.

  2. Thanks Ivy!
    It is hard to balance between getting them to do what is good for them and what is convenient for us! Unfortunately those things don't usually blend together!