Friday, June 24, 2011

Two much talk

The two-year-old toddler (or tiger-monkey-queen, as she calls herself) is at that stage where she is constantly learning new words and phrases. How do I know? Because she can't/won't stop talking. When I listen closely, what sound like a streams of gibberish to most (well, to all but me) are actually full sentences with meaning.

Example: On the drive home from work/daycare today, she said, "Mummy, Hengy adasad da donkey donkey I say Hengy a no reezana sked my Daddy say". I replied with, "That's a very good girl". Huh? Well, what she was saying was that Henry [her bestie at daycare] was scared of a DVD they watched called Donkey Donkey, so she told him "There's no reason to be scared" because that's what her Daddy tells her when she's scared.

On one hand, it's great being able to understand pretty much everything she says. As a Samoan raising a child outside Samoa, I'm a bit paranoid about the external influences on her upbringing. In Samoa, parenting is a more of a community activity. There is a more common sense of morals and beliefs, and people are not afraid to (or more like they just can't help but) scold or even physically discipline you even if you are not their child. At the very least, they will no doubt rat on you to your parents if they see you doing something they perceive to be wrong (and all the guilty-as-teens nod). Over here, parenting is a more of individual or couple's task. Sure, there are plenty of courses, books, blogs etc with information galore on the how-to's of parenting, but the actually "doing" comes down to you, the parent.

So getting back on track...I'm trying to encourage my daughter to talk to me, and at this early stage of her life, she does. Oh yea, she doesn't stop. Hopefully the communication channel remains open (and going into her early adolescent years. Especially since smacking has been outlawed in the land of the long white cloud.

But there are times, and there are actually quite a lot of these, when I want her to just stop talking. Like after work, cooking dinner and cleaning up after, I just want to be left alone with my laptop to spend a couple of mind-numbing hours playing Bejeweled. But no, she plops down next to me with one of her books, and says, "Mummy, you broke my book?". There was a little tear in the book cover. In my head I scream "Pleeeaaase, leave me alone!!!" I play my last (pre-smack) card. "Lyla, you tore your book, not I. You need to take responsibility for your actions and not lay the blame on others. That's not right, you must accept your mistakes, and make amends."

The tiger-monkey-queen looked at me. I could see her mind struggling to attach some meaning to the jumble that just came out of my mouth. It takes two seconds for her to accept defeat, clamber down from the couch and say "I go to my room". In my head - "Yaaaaaay!! Woohooo!". I shrug and say "Ok".

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