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A cog in the machine

I discovered this journal entry in one of the notebooks I was hoping to repurpose today.

This was a written back when I was considering putting 1 year old Knox into nursery during my postpartum month, and later to continue my education. I was also learning a lot about Montessori at the same time, but felt that surely the standard nursery education should have come a long way and would adequate. Alas, after exploring the options, I decided to continue as a SAHM.

note: The 3 schools I visited where those that were closest to the place we were living at the time. They are an extremely small sampling and is in no way representative of the general quality of nursery schools in Qatar.

2013/6/12

Visting 3 nurseries about here today. Am very worried. You could say the space was colorful, varied, and lively – but what I saw was chaotic, bedazzling, and distracting. I feel that it would be irresponsible to put Knox into such spaces, where there is no rhyme or reason to the decor. Yes they have child level furniture, yes they have toys that fascinate him – but are they what would help him form into a person who can take mastery of his environment? I fear it merely offers a holding space for him, to hold him alive, healthy, and fairly content during this age of immature capacity and maximum inconvenience to adults.

I am sure much thought is put into some activities, but is the effect to seemingly instruct and/or entertain – or is it to put education at the higher level – to allow the children to create for themselves, to allow the children to be capable of taking care of themselves and contribute to the community, to build their capacities in this way, using means/language that is theirs?

That they may seem occupied by a performance may not mean that they are truly learning. Man’s highest understanding comes from going the journey. I recall many activities that were presented to me in the foggiest of manners – that were presented so well as a product could be made at the end of a 45 minute session – a painting, a fabric doll – but no understanding of what had taken place was established. Perhaps it is, as they say, planting a seed. But I would have dearly loved to have learnt how to create my very own rag dolls, rather than be given patterns for construct without understanding I would have preferred to attempt something sub par … had that space been given. Instructorship in that manner only proves the superiority of the instructor, not to the growth of the pupil. I was taught to acquire the skills of craft, but only at the level of a cog in the machine.

 

 

A few things about newborns

  1. Infants are obligate nasal breathers: So they can breath and eat at the same time, yo!
  2. Infants have unconscious attention – that is, they cannot help having their attention drawn to certain forms of stimuli. This explains their ‘interest’ in:
    • contrasting colors
    • Any sort of video
    • Sound. Particularly the proclivity of adults to use higher pitched, repetitive noises when speaking to infants – because they pay most attention and are most responsive to such.
  3. Infants do not start out in life imitating adults. They only become gradually aware of their own behavior when adults imitate them. (ex: Notice that infants pause after you imitate them.) Meaning response from adults appears to be key to a baby’s budding communication wiring:
    • Babies are very aware of the non-verbal cues provided by adults through facial expression. They appear to control the pace of conversation by maintaining eye contact or by dropping their gaze. Either babies or adults may initiate the conversation; however, when babies react to the gaze of an adult and fail to receive a response they lapse into silence. Babies and toddlers need to be able to get adults’ attention. – Macleod-Brudenell, Advanced Early Years

 

The fact that most of what we are influenced by starts out subconsciously (and perhaps even after we are grown), tells me that it is particularly important the we prepare the young child’s environment with care. For example, if we hope to improve the aesthetic taste of our next generation, it would be nice to choose items that at least fulfill our adults standards of beauty. I recently finally got down to making the Munari Mobile prescribed by Dr. Montessori. It is fairly simple to make, but when finished I was quite impressed with the entire aspect of the item.

If you google Munari you come up with a plethora of his beautiful artwork, which are exemplified by simplicity and grace.

On another note, I really like the maternal/infant care videos by Global Health Media. I find them amazingly practical, clear, and informative. Below is a video about initiating breastfeeding, with the ‘infant crawl’. To see it is to believe it!

Little things

 

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A daddy longlegs was walking across the glass. It froze when we noticed it, stopping with one leg poised on a book, as though it were in its way. Knox brushed everything off the glass top so it would have space to walk.

 

 

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Small planes nursing off big plane, and a flying dinosaur. A few days later Knox found feathers and added them to the planes as well.

 

 

Things I do not want to forget. So many small and lovely things.

Day before last Mike made Inge gurgle with laughter while playing with her after work at the dinner table. First time she laughed.
——-
Quin: When we grow up you can give us coffee? 我們長大可以給我們喝咖啡嗎?
Me: When you grow up you can make your own! 長大可以自己泡喔!
Quin: When you and daddy grow small I will take you to the park. 你跟爸爸變小的時候我會帶你們去公園。

If only life were such a circular blessing my love!

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混血兒父母希望你知道的事

在國外,碰到朋友孩子金髮碧眼,我先生常常開玩笑說若朋友帶孩子來台灣玩,會像明星一樣受歡迎。

明星一樣受歡迎,感覺是很美好,其實對正常人來說都是一種困擾。因為你沒有被當作人看待,而是被物化,當作一個公共財:別人占用你的時間,探尋你的隱私,評斷你的行為穿著,問一些用屁股想都會覺得沒有禮貌的問題,都被當作理所當然。

不巧今天帶孩子去一趟醫院,全都給我遇到了。

先是在候診室,我們剛坐下,坐我們旁邊一位年紀大一點的女人突然從口袋裡掏了兩顆糖,馬上遞給我的孩子。我說不要,她嘴上說:『不給孩子吃糖喔?沒關係這沒有很甜。』手還是一直伸出來。兒子動作很快就拿了一個,女兒看看我,拒絕了。後來我轉過頭沒有理那人,她自顧自的說:『你看我也吃糖。糖很安全。』我都沒有再搭理她,更不用說道謝或叫孩子說謝謝。這種事情常常發生:在路上牽著女兒,她很累邊走邊哭,突然一個阿伯跑出來送她一個熊。我拒絕,他堅持拿到女兒手上。

我們每個家長都有自己不同的理由,不讓孩子拿別人的禮物。我知道你是善意的,但跟年幼的孩子交易前有先問過照顧者嗎?你認識這個孩子的需求嗎?你有負責孩子生病照護營養教養金錢觀嗎?你知道這孩子等下要吃飯,可能有過敏,血糖問題,媽媽已經說好一天一顆糖,現在需要學會忍耐,回到家玩具太多亂丟的問題…等等,而你是他的誰?或許你是好人,但你覺得陌生人給糖孩子都應該欣然接受嗎?對別人的孩子,這是你有權利做的教養決定嗎?

女人看診出來,我女兒現在坐到她離開的位子上,她要等單子,後面有其它的位子,她屁股直接坐到女兒坐的位子上,把女兒擠一邊。我覺得她生氣了。

很對不起,我沒有用心跟妳明說,為什麼妳給我孩子糖我會不想理妳。我太懶了,想說妳年紀比我大,應該比我見過世面,這種事情應該了解。想想,或許我們社會,許多人上了年紀,就沒有人再花心思跟他們溝通,所以他們反而像寵壞的孩子,看不到自己的樣子,越來越難與人相處。我 “顧你的面子”,不跟你明說,這樣似乎是害了你。妳覺得妳是善意,是單純。但對我來說,真正的善意,和滿足自己一時興起的“善舉”是有所差別的。

後來我們看完診找了個空的桌子吃便當,ㄧ個志工阿姨靠過來問了以下的問題:

『他們是雙胞胎嗎?』

『都是女生噢?』

『怎麼會自己吃飯?』

『大的是男生!怎麼長得那麼像女生!』

『好可愛,好秀氣!』(N次)

『你是女生嗎?』(問我兒子)

『先生是哪裡人?在這裡工作喔?』

『做什麼工作?』(我裝作沒聽到)

『那是什麼湯匙?』(我裝作沒聽到)

『怎麼會說中文?』(後面N次我裝作沒聽到)

『你們都是女生嗎?』(媽媽OS:不是剛剛說一個是男生了。)

『會自己吃飯喔!』(N次)

『妳自己帶出來沒有人幫妳喔?』(妳要幫我嗎?)

『怎麼不吃了?這樣長不大噢!』(因為妳在旁邊一直對著他們說話…,過程中還拉了另一個志工阿姨一起來評論+問問題。)

這過程中我回答很簡略,降低眼神接觸(我以前表明沒有錢,事實上就是沒有錢,但還是會被推銷的纏很久,後來發現:因為我會一直微笑的眼神接觸,所以漸漸不敢了。),也擺明在認真吃飯。整個質詢過程我只有問一個問題:

『妳們沒有要吃午餐喔?』

請問妳是誰?為什麼我在這裡專心吃飯要被質詢?你知道嗎:如果你問候了一下,發現我沒有要開始跟你分享我的生命故事的意願(我知道,有些人真的在等待有人可以傾吐,但那不是現在在吃快要冷掉的便當,且趕著讓孩子回家睡午覺的我),你簡單說一句:『好你們慢慢吃噢!』然後優雅地走開,我心中仍會保有你身為一個值得讓我尊重的陌生人的美好形象。你若想表達心中看到孩子的喜悅,一句:『看到這麼小的孩子真是讓人開心。』是相當得體的。或許以後我們有緣再見面,你我那時很閒,我們都可以再聊聊。現在,我只會覺得避之唯恐不及。

因為你知道嗎?不只是混血兒的父母,現在越來越多父母不希望自己的孩子因為長相而被人有不同的對待。而且這樣的“質詢”方式,或許你覺得你在表達善意,但事實上一直問別人家家庭的事情,評判你所看到東西表象,完全忽略那人的肢體語言所表達出的接受度,並不是一種友善的溝通方式。

最後,坐公車回家的路上,有好心的女人讓座,我抱著女兒,一個男子一直盯著她看。女兒就衝著他給了一個笑容,我看看那男的臉,還是面無表情的看她,讓我當媽都覺得毛骨悚然。在公共場合,你不會沒有理由盯著一個陌生人吧?孩子有什麼不一樣?

這裡,我整理出幾點讓外籍或混血兒父母往往表現出 ”不友善,冷淡,高傲“ 的作為:

  1. 一直提到孩子的長相 (有一點意識的父母都不希望自己孩子還沒有成熟前就被自己的外貌定義。大多數有自信的孩子反而會對只會評斷自己長相的大人反感。)
  2. 不經同意就擅自給孩子禮物,摸孩子。(兒童是有監護人的人類,不是寵物。話說,你也不會未經允許的餵別人的寵物吧?)
  3. 不經同意就擅自給孩子拍照(孩子不是公仔。那些拍廣告的兒童通常都是有賺錢的。連我身為父母分享孩子的照片都仔細考量的。)
  4. 一劈頭就質詢別人身家問題。(對,我是台灣人,但我沒有義務講個有趣的故事來讓你娛樂。那些上節目很健談的外籍人士和配偶是有酬勞的。)

不過只說不該做的事有點不公平。我相信有些人是真正的友善,好奇,但不知道如何正確表達,所以說一下一些我們覺得比較正常的互動模式:

  1. 同樣身為父母的交流(『我也有兩個孩子,他們現在都大了。小時候他們個性完全不同blah blah blah…』)
  2. 起碼有一點關聯的交流(『現在在跟我男朋友考慮要結婚生小孩,但怕負擔不起。你們生兩個會覺得很累嗎?blah blah blah…』『我姊姊最近認識一個美國人,但他說只想dating,那是什麼意思?不是交男朋友嗎?blah blah blah』)—> 這種也要有點用心的開頭,看看人家的反應,不是直接切入。
  3. 『看到你的孩子快樂的樣子很美好。』(這類的話純抒發自己的感受,沒有去評斷別人。)
  4. 『需要幫忙嗎?』(父母焦頭爛額忙孩子時,實質幫助比沒有意義的描述情形還有幫助,但願意/想要介入還是要先問!)
  5. 陌生孩子很無聊跟孩子玩/對話 – 可以友善的微笑,年幼的可以扮鬼臉,可以聊在玩的東西但不是主導談話的聊。通常不摸小孩。

說來說去,這其實跟是不是混血兒沒有關係。只是正常與有孩子陌生家庭的交流。有些家長也覺得”混血兒“這詞相當刺耳 – 同樣都是人類,沒有雜種這種事情啊!這只是因為我們的孩子有時候長得比較顯眼,似乎比較常引起一些人一時之間理智斷線,對待人正常的禮儀都突然不見了。我寫這個,因為我相信許多人會想知道自己“無心”的作為其實讓人覺得困擾,不受尊重,反感,甚至俱威脅性。

另外我要提:並不是所有混血兒都是帥哥美女,也並不是所有家庭都幸福美滿。異國夫妻也有溝通不良,家暴,家長沒有家庭觀,單親, 家裡經濟其實很不好…等等。每個人所得到的“地位”,都是你內心投影出來的:權力,不管是崇拜還是默認,都是我們自願給別人的。因為這樣, 更沒有必要憤恨,不平衡。如果希望我們的社會更美好公正,就把所有的孩子都看作是未來成人的苗吧。

生產前與醫生的溝通 – 三點要求增進媽媽寶寶福祉

跟先生慎重討論後決定嘗試第三胎,因為有了前兩胎自然產的經驗,這次對於生產過程已經精簡到只有三點要求,希望醫生可幫忙,也當然希望老公可以幫忙提醒啊!

  1. 不要剪會陰:

會陰是陰道與肛門間的那個空間,產前上一個加拿大助產士的課,她就說,在台灣醫生有些會認為亞洲女性陰道小,生產沒有剪會陰一定會撕裂傷,縫撕裂傷又比縫一個乾淨的傷口麻煩,也或許醫生相信這樣剪生比較快。她說女人身體是設計來生孩子的,大多數女性的陰道在生產過程是有辦法開到可以讓孩子出來的大小。非有必要才會需要人工介入,不然通常是不需要的。

因為這樣,我第一胎產檢有請醫生不要剪,結果到生產那天勒,醫生好像忘記了!一進來就很順其自然的剪了會陰。至今我老公還是感到相當自責,說他看到的時候已經來不及了,非常不爽自己沒有阻止他。還說他看到當下真想揍醫師一拳!當然我生產不希望身邊這麼戲劇化的事情發生,但他有心這麼說也讓我很欣慰。希望他這次可以真的提醒醫生。(不是揍醫生!)

第二胎在卡達生,醫生有聽到我的要求,沒有剪。結果第一胎傷口復原反而比較痛,比較久,我走路比較不舒服。第二胎雖然有自然的撕裂傷,但我當天生完晚上就起來到走廊散步了。雖然我個人的數據只有兩個,但我寧可自然的撕裂傷也不願意一個剪得很“乾淨”癒合更久更不舒服的傷口。

2. 延後剪臍帶的時間:

助產士有說,因為孩子剛出生臍帶還會有一些養分輸入到嬰兒身體,所以等個兩分鐘,都可以讓嬰兒有更多養份。這同時也是有研究證實,降低胎兒貧血,提升體內鐵質的方法。也有台灣的醫生推薦這麼做

這點,我兩胎都沒有做到!真的是醫護人員太順手了,一生出來馬上就剪。虧我第二胎到醫院時還交代先生要提醒產房人員。結果要生的時候他整個就是盤手讓人擺佈。我可憐的女兒又因為媽媽不知道為什麼被卡達醫護人員很“程序上的”被打了點滴,還說不打點滴就不讓我進產房,結果水腫影響出奶,奶到了第四天才下,Q妹整整餓了四天!

3. 不要搓洗寶寶:

我個人的理由主要是剛出生的寶寶有美好的香味,媽媽我聞得相當舒服。Q妹一出生被抓去洗了一個小時才回來,結果回來只剩下肥皂的味道!身上的初生小皮都被搓洗掉了!

後來我看到一個醫生的文章,大致上是說,初生嬰兒最好48小時之後再洗。有幾個原因:

  • 因為初生兒身上還有他在羊水裡長出來的皮,叫做vernix,這個可以形成一個自然屏障,降低感染率。洗掉可惜。vernix也可以自然地幫肌膚保水,不需要用乳液。
  • 嬰兒剛出生被洗會哭,體內壓力素上昇,血糖因此下降,血糖下降的嬰兒會想睡覺,就不會馬上想要吸允(吃奶),體內血糖因此更下降。
  • 嬰兒在母體內享受著約攝氏37C的溫度,一到外面馬上變成乾淨冷氣房的21C,洗澡讓初生兒需要花費更多能量產生熱能維持體溫。
  • 一出生的時間是要跟父母皮膚對皮膚親近的,不是被抓去洗澡。
  • 嬰兒一出生的前半小時或一小時可以趴在皮膚上練習吸允的,通常吸奶能力較好。因為在羊水中胎兒是不斷的吸允羊水,一到空氣中就中斷了這樣的動作。越早讓孩子練習吸允越好。
  • 父母可以參與孩子的第一個澡。根據我在youtube上看到的baby’s first bath影片們,這是很美好的事。

完整的世界衛生組織建議可以在這裡找到(英文)。

另外這是阿諾出生小Q出生的記錄(英文)。

Update Knox 47 months, Quin 28 months

As we’re not a commercial enterprise, we’ve finally reverted our blog name to the free https://whenthediaperleaks.wordpress.com

After having put some of their activities and all of the jigsaw puzzles into an accessible cabinet, they have been getting some things out to work on. The other day Quin got out the box of beads.

As a beginner, one-year-old Knox had previously worked on a ‘bead threading box’ where there were only 3~5 large beads, and a stiff, short thick string that was knotted at the end. In his 3 year old class, he periodically brought home threaded straw necklaces and bracelets. Working on the supposition that she has some experience from her toddler class with beading work and that she wouldn’t have selection anxiety (too many beads! Should I throw them?), this time I had the whole box available for Quin in her cabinet.

Also, at this stage I have a reasonable amount of confidence in what these two kids might do given a certain type of setting. Being in a cabinet with a wooden door, the likelihood of them passing by whilst restless and hitting upon it as a mess-around activity is diminished.

And oh boy was I so pleased when she did immediately recognize it as a threading activity, and also seemed inclined to view it as a sorting activity! She saw that certain colors went in certain compartments, and with some frustration and a gentle tip was able to see that certain strings went with certain bead sizes. I had taped the ‘starting end’ of most of the strings that were too soft when I saw her struggle with it.

In other news:

Recently I had the opportunity to be secret Santa to two children, 6 & 8.

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For the 6 year old I chose a put it together plane kit. I am estimating this sort would be a good activity for Knox starting maybe around 5. Though I have reservations as I’m not sure that it can be made into anything else. I am hopeful by that time Quin will be stable enough for Knox to not live in fear (of having his projects wrecked) as he gains capacity to build with Kapla blocks, and cuboro, perhaps even circuits! Right now he builds mostly with sets that have magnets, such as magnatiles, magformers, and tegu (less popular due to polarity and limited shape). Or blocks that fit together (duplo, Gigo junior engineer, tube locks). The interest in these basically started with the capacity to make vehicles. The tegu one doesn’t have any wheels so I suspect that may be part of why it has not yet held his interest. I am so in love with his sudden burst into making symmetry these past few months – planes, boats, race cars, race-car airplanes, fire engine airplanes…etc.

For the 8 year old I chose a 3D drawing kit. When I saw it, it reminded me of the one time our high school tech teacher had us do exercises in isometric projection: drawing an item in 2D from frontal and lateral viewpoints, and switching to drawing it in 3D as well. I loved it. It is one of those things I consider ‘adult secrets’ that only people in the trade know, and for us to be able to experience it was such a fun revelation for me! I believe this toy would best be used in the following sequence : For the child to first do exercises in 3D drawing on paper. And then to use the kit to draw and assemble designs she had pre-designs. I recall, as a child, visiting the homes of friends who had very generous relatives. Their rooms would be like a treasure chest (to me), various components of various kits and board games would be scattered here and there. And my friend would often be complaining that she’s bored. I think if you really do give one of these kits to kids, with no preamble, then it is truly very easy to be bored quickly, as the child does not have the sense of order or discipline to plumb the potentials in these toys, and would ‘abuse it’ to the point that it is not considered precious at all.

Good article on not losing your head this holiday season (if you haven’t already, hahah!): http://qz.com/156218/parents-are-buying-their-kids-all-the-wrong-toys/

This is my new favorite intro to the Montessori environment video, it’s one of the rare ones which focuses not on the physical environment, but on how the community operates in accordance with rules that foster mutual respect.

and I love how thoughtful this mother is about sending her child to school: https://thefullmontessori.wordpress.com/2015/12/05/from-montessori-to-unschooling-and-back/

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Update: So our kids got their secret Santa gifts. Knox got a hot wheels race track. Quin got a huge Frozen Elsa doll.

Unfortunately as we had already gotten her a baby doll, I have had to hide her Elsa doll (still in packaging). There was something I read in Montessori From The Start a while ago that resonated with me:

The reality is that very young children can only truly love one doll, one stuffed animal, and a few toys at a time. This experience provides a basis for adult life where one must learn to cherish one spouse, one family, one life, instead of fantasizing that it is possible to “have it all.”

I have found this inability to love too many to be my own experience. For a while in Taiwan, before elementary, I had only one stuffed doll. I would sleep with it. One day a friend of my mom’s gave me another stuffed doll. Now I had two dolls to love. I was confused. The concept of equality entered my mind. I must love them both. But one was obviously more superior in appearance than the other! I should love the uglier one more than …etc. I eventually found this somewhat stressful and let go of the concept of ‘loving them both’. At that point, I was able to see them as ‘only dolls’. And thus ended my baby doll stage.

As an aside, I also had barbies, about 2 or 3 I think. And despite being used for role play, dressing up (this helped me understand when I read, later on, how difficult it must be to dress corpses), and having an interesting experience in trying to wash their hair, they do not inspire the same maternal instinct as baby dolls. Also, I do not remember the baby dolls of other little girls inspiring maternal instinct, as I knew these belonged to other little girls and I did not have the right to care for them. If you think about it, the internal worlds of children are really quite complex and (for those of us that remember) has the potential involve many many billable hours in the counseling office if we’re not careful. Part of my natural hesitation to take the lead in children’s play is my understanding that I cannot really understand them if I’m talking at them all the time.

Knox does not appear to have a strong inclination towards dolls one way or another. There was one time when he took someone’s doll, walked a good distance away from the rest of the children, and sat down to ‘nurse’ it (with an expression as if he were in a trance! I still wonder what he was thinking).

From Feb, 2014

From Feb, 2014

However, Quin seems to enjoy holding dolls more, referring to dolls as ‘baby’, pushing doll in toy stroller, looking at babies, and pretending herself to be a ‘baby’. Now she will have one doll to love. We will see how it goes.

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On their shelf this week:

Growing dignity

I like this reminder about being mindful in the way we talk to children:  informative talk instead of directives.
 
This really works! I have noticed that I am much more likely to get compliance if I take the time to think about how I phrase reminders to my children. How Knox is much more happier about being in order.
 
Sometimes a little support can be useful too:
 
Recently Knox would go down the stairs ahead of us to open the front door, which leads directly into the street. I’ve reminded him a few times not to do that. I’ve told him that if he opens the door without me present he runs the risk of someone grabbing him. But he still can’t resist opening the door. One time I found him with the door open the width of his head, and he grinningly told me that he will ‘very quickly shut the door if someone should come and grab me.’
 
I realized that he wants to see outside while waiting for his small sister and very pregnant mother to walk slowly down the stairs. This is his way of whiling away the time in the dark stair case. He is very good at self-amusing, but he needs a means of amusing himself. So I said “How about you wait for us on the 2nd floor? That way you can see out the window to the entire park! And then when we reach you we can go to the first floor together.”
 
I only said this once to him. And he has been waiting for us on the 2nd floor ever since! This is so amazing for me.
 
Of course I have to remind myself that Knox has entered the 2nd or 3rd stage of obedience for a while. This is why he is allowed a bit more autonomy than his sister. With Quin I still have to use easier language and keep her more restrained. I have to remind myself not to compare them since they are at different developmental stages, even if her resting face is very mature and knowing, it is not the reality…
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因為我跟妹妹走樓梯比較慢,最近阿諾會自己跑下去開前門。我跟他說了好幾次:『不可以自己先開前門。』『需要我在你才可以開前門。』『如果我不在場,外面有人看到你把你抓走,我就沒有辦法保護你了!』
 
不過他還是無法克制自己去開前門。後來,會看到他把前門開了他一個頭的縫隙,往外瞧,看到我來很驕傲的跟我說:『我開前門一點點而已,這樣有人來抓我我可以馬上把門關上!』
 
我想想,前門裏面又暗又髒,外面是個漂亮的公園,他一直以來很會自娛,可以等我們,不過自娛就是想看看外面。就跟他說:『那你可以在二樓(樓梯間)等我們喔!二樓有窗戶,可以看到整個公園,等妹妹和我到二樓的時候再和我們一起下去。』
 
這個講一次他就可以了。
 
當然阿諾現在在聽得懂,聽得進去道理是蠻穩定的,不然是不會考慮讓他自己先下樓梯的。早在接近三歲時我分享到他展現出下一階段『秩序』期 ,對於還不到兩歲半的妹妹,我還是要用比較簡單的語詞,也給予比較少自主空間。
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The need for a cooperative/respectful way of speaking is true between adults as well. Having the privilege of experiencing different cultures, I find the difference in the accepted standard of talking to others very noticeable. Such as: it is much more common for elders in Taiwan to use patronizing language, under the auspices of “being caring and community oriented”. And then they are frequently surprised by how ungraciously it is received! While it can be tiring to constantly respond to rapid-fire needs of younger children, I have to remind myself that it doesn’t imply they are so beholden to me that they should not exercise their will. Indeed, their will is what they need to thrive as adults! And why not,  in the process, evolve my own capacities in communication!

Happy sewing! See you tomorrow!

Grace