Thursday, January 29, 2015

Beware the mini-me

People always say we have to watch we say in front of the kids. It's all about what they pick up from us and it's not just language.

Everyone says that Jordan is a mini-me. She's got my athletic genes and according to Packrat, my temperament which makes battles with her epic.

But on top of that, she wants to be me. And while I had some vague understanding that our kids always wanted to follow us, she wants to do everything I do or have done. And that's where I have to watch my mouth.

Instance 1:
Some nights ago, we were talking about bed times and I told them that I used to go to bed very early. If you gave me a chance now, I would still go to bed very early. Habits die hard. Anyway, she asked me how I did my homework if I went to sleep so early. Without thinking, I told her that I would go to bed early, wake up at 2 or 3 am and study till 5 before going back to bed.

A few mornings after that, I found books strewn across our coffee table when I woke up. My first instinct was that Packrat, who had had friends over, had not cleared up. On closer inspection, it was Jordan's stuff- some Chinese books, an exercise book and an English dictionary. She announced proudly when she woke up that she had gotten up in the middle of her night and 'studied'. What did she study? According to her, Chinese dictation that she had to memorise, some composition and English stuff. She did this the next night too according to our helper who heard her rustling around in the middle of the night.

When asked, she said she needed to study, like Mommy studied. So Mommy had to step in and tell her that Mommy was 13 years old when she did that and was always exhausted the next day. And she, Jordan, needed more sleep now than time to study.

Instance 2:
In another conversation, we were talking about primary school and I mentioned something about the PSLE and how all 12 year olds took that exam to get into secondary school. I told them that if I had studied harder in primary school (I was a major slacker till P5 when my mother grounded me within an inch of my life), I would have been able to go to the same school many of my friends went to. She then proceeded to ask me what school that was and I told her Raffles. I told her I didn't get in and Mama (their grandmother and my mother) decided that since I didn't study hard enough to get in there, she wasn't going to help me get in and I had to go to whatever school my grades allowed me to.

And the next night, Jordan tells me that she no longer wants to go to Papa's school (She loves Papa's school and has sworn that she wants to go to school there) but wants to go to Raffles because I couldn't go there so that she would go there for me.

Touched as I was, I told her that now that I was older, I knew that it was a good thing I didn't go there and we wouldn't know if she would like it there; that the most important thing was that she was good enough to choose between the different schools rather than be limited by her grades.

Of course, Evan chimed in that he wanted to go to Raffles too and I told him that his future was set for him because his blood, like his father's ran red, blue and gold.

Anyway, much as it is an ego boost that Jordan wants to do everything I did, it's also about remembering that while she's got lots of my DNA in her, she's also her own person and it's only fair if I gave her all the space to be that. On top of that, she's only 7 so I should really shut my mouth because pulling all nighters just to prove that she can be like Mommy is going to stunt her growth.

So, from now on, I don't just have to watch the swear words that might escape my lips,  I have to vet the stories of my childhood before I regale them to JED.'s Talkative Thursdays


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