Monday, February 21, 2011
But.. You are Old!
The Journey of the Clown Kids
After watching Rapunzel for the 10th times this week, my husband and I casually chatted with our 3 yeard old Nina about the meaning and the importance of love. To enhance her understanding, we inserted ourselves into the illustration.
“So, Nin, Mama is like Rapunzel, and Papa is like the Handsome Prince,” my husband began describing.
Nina’s eyes looked puzzled. “But.., you are not. You are OLD,” came her final verdict.
I usually showed the pictures which I took at family/friend’s gatherings to my kids. Vanity questions usually followed, such as,” Did we all look pretty, Mike, in this picture?” My 8 year old boy would glance quickly at my phone screen and shrugged,” Your friends are all aunties.” “Yeah, so? Aren’t we pretty?” I insisted. He then answered, boredom was clear in his tone, “You and your friends are all old, Ma.” OK, time to do my math. Old = …… ?
Mike was head over heels playing beyblade. He has been teaching his sister how to do it. Looking at how cute they were, mumbling questions and instructions to each other, I teased them, “Teach me too, Mike. I want to learn too.” Without even looking at me, he answered,” This is for kids, Ma. You are too old to play.”
“I like girls with long hair,” my son one day declared.
“Cool. How about the girls with short hair?” I asked
He shrugged, “ They are OK, I guess.”
“My hair is short, Mike, yet I look pretty,” I provoked him.
He dropped his hands, rolled his eyes and blurted, “ Ma, you are not pretty. You are medium-pretty.”
“Whaaatt? Come on! Is that even a word? Medium pretty? What does it mean?”
On one casual conversation with my 8 year old son.
“Family must love each other, Mike. Like forever. Always.”
He nodded, “Until we are old, ya?”
“Yes. Got to take care of each other.”
Then, I couldn’t resist the temptation in asking him the classic question that all parents had asked their children before me. “Will you take care of us, Mike, when we are older?”
“Sureeee, Ma”, came his quick answer ,”But not everyday, right? Because, by that time, I need to take care of my wife and my kids too.”
Sometimes, my husband and I forgot that we and our kids are separated by decades. In those moments, we often admired each other in front of our kids. “Your Dad looks so cool.” “Your mom is so pretty.” “Papa is handsome, right?”
Often, we got silent treatment from our kids. But, in our luckier days, one of them would feel obligated to say something truthful, like, “Not really.” “But Papa’s tummy is too big. Not that handsome anymore.” “Why do you always say that Papa/Mama is beautiful?”
My daughter Nina was notorious in eating her meals. On top of being picky, she is also a slow eater. Getting her to eat her meals always involve threats and bribes.
When I was frustrated, I asked her, “Why don’t you just eat your food?” And she would answer me, in her defense, “Because I don’t want to be fat like you.” Believe me, I am not even fat!
“That’s it! No more skinny Princess movies or books for you to see! Bad, bad influence!” I bit my tongue furiously.