You know who should be writing books on parenting?
11 year olds. 11 year old kids. They are brilliant, they are still young enough to want to be ‘childlike’, but old enough to have a decent grasp on reality.
I came to this understanding after having an impromptu chat about my parenting with the in-house 11 year old, Doris.
There have been some problems with the eldest, wanton disregard for the family finances when using her mobile phone to download music, mis-understandings on topics such as who the money in my purse belongs to etc,
what I hope is usual teenage stuff.
So I casually asked Doris, why she thinks her sister does this stuff, not really expecting an answer because she was busy at the time constructing something with chopsticks and battery acid, not really wanting an answer either cos I was watching ‘Without A Trace’.
So Doris told me, told me everything.
“ You are too strict.”
I said, ‘about what?”
She said, ‘about everything. She doesn’t have enough pocket money, she wants stuff and its expensive these days. Have you seen the price of things?
And you are too strict about her studying.”
“Well,” said I, “ she has important exams coming up, I have to make sure she works hard enough to get into a good school”.
Doris said, “ She will work hard enough, she is working hard enough, because she wants to go to that school, She’ll do it for herself, not because you keep telling her to do it. That’s what you always tell us, do stuff for yourself, follow your own road, don’t just do what everyone else is doing. She wants to go to that school, so she’ll do her best, so trust her.”
‘Oh okay!! I see. Okay, I’ll lighten up on that. Thanks. Thanks for your help.
Is there anything else I should know?”
( ever wish you hadn’t asked, I would make a lousy lawyer)
“ to be honest, the brown rice! Everyone hates it. Can we go back to white?
Did you notice how when we went to Baa-chan’s at New Year, everyone had bowls and bowls full of rice, but at home we never take seconds?”
“ Actually no, no, I did not notice that’
“ Well that’s your proof that no one likes it. Bring back the white.”
“ Righty oh! I can do that. Thanks, thanks for telling me all this Doris”
“ Your welcome,”
Well I had lost the plot of without A trace by this point and I thought we were done, but no, there was more.
“ About oyatsu. ( snacks), the oyatsu here is not up to much.”
“ Why? What’s wrong with our oyatsu?”
“ Well, sometimes its okay, like some senbei, or something, but sometimes it’s just fruit, fruit’s not enough to get us from lunch till dinner when we walk a mile home from school everyday. We need more. At other people’s houses they always have oyatsu at 3 O’clock. 3 O’clock is ‘oyatsu time’. The other mothers wear aprons and make biscuits or cake or something.”
I said, “ I sometimes make biscuits or cake. In fact I made biscuits twice last week.”
“ Yes, but…”
“ yes but what?”
“ Your biscuits are ……”
“ Are what?”
“ Awful!” chimes in Jim. “ we want biscuits with sugar in, not oats.”
“ Okay, okay. I get it, no brown rice, more sugar. Not a problem, I can do that.”
“ You’re welcome.”
“ Tell me my lovelies, am I doing anything right? Do I have any good points.?”
They thought, they thought for a long time, way too long if you ask me. Finally Doris, smiling innocently said,
“ Yes! Nice big boobs!”.