Lessons from my Daughter

Tuesday 5th May 2015
This little girl, the one that I bore, is teaching me many things lately. I may be over-simplifying things, but the underlying message is clear, if you’ll indulge me.
1. I like how when I pick her from her cot and bring her to our bed no matter the hour of night, she literally hits the road (or bed, in this case) running. She doesn’t like, Pause to think, she just starts playing immediately with the pillows, the head rest, pulling the mosquito net (yes, Tropical Africa woes), and climbing on her father. Funny enough, she climbs over her father more than she does me. It’s like in her head it is clear Daddy = Play partner. Mummy = Source of food, and you must never play with your food. She feels free and does not wait for an ‘On Your Marks, Get Set, Go!’ To get going. As adults, many times we want to do something but we keep waiting and postponing and saying, let me talk to so and so first, let me sleep over it first (yah, for like a year), let me make tea first then I’ll get to it…

Lesson: If there’s something you want to do, hit the ground running as much as possible, and then figure it out as you go, it may not be as scary as you think. We take too long weighing options and then we don’t get started at the time when we should.

2. She is now learning to stand and walk so she falls a lot. But what I like is that when she falls, she just looks at where she is and sees what is on that new eye level and starts to play with it. She doesn’t dwell on the other toys that she was playing with before on the table or whatever other higher surface – the seat or stool or whatever.

Lesson: When we find ourselves in new situations, we keep looking back and wishing for what we had back there, instead of looking at what is now in our line of vision and making use of it. How’s about adjusting, adapting and moving on?

3. Along the same line of falling, when she falls, she either finds something to play with on the floor, or she just pulls herself back up and keeps playing. I cannot count how many times she falls on her little bum, sometimes even does a full roll, legs up in the air and all, but then just smiles, gets up and continues trying to walk. When that fails, she crawls to her destination. Ultimately, she makes it to wherever or whatever she was going for.

Lesson: When you fall, just get right back up. We often lack the courage to try again, to give it one more shot because it is so very scary to fall again! Yet, one of these fine days she will learn how to walk, and run, and it will be because she was not afraid to fall. (Thank God for diapers, at least they cushion her falls!)

4. When she wants something, she cries till she gets it. And she’s very specific too! Like if she wants nyonyo (to breastfeed) and you try to give her milk with a bottle, she causes a ruckus until you give her the nyonyo. In essence, both, er, items/resources/tools (tools?) serve the same purpose – that of delivering milk to the consumer; but no, this little one is detail oriented and focused! I think is how her CV would read for that part.

Lesson: If you are clear on what you want, try as hard as you can to get it; don’t settle for less just because it is being offered.

5. She is now at the oral stage- (though I think she’s been in that stage like since birth, she is not a poor feeder by any means)- so she likes to try out many things to see how they suit her palate. She is recently in the business of taking food from all our plates, especially her brother’s, and he is too gentle to fight with her. Well, she also throws in a scream and arms in the air in this endeavor, so it’s all a bit dramatic for the boy who I guess takes more after his father in terms of no drama. The little girl has no teeth, not even one, but that doesn’t prevent her from munching on chapatis, bananas, bread, biscuits… She has figured out that she can tear the food into small pieces and then suck on it till it is soft enough to swallow. So she’ll do it in bits and create a huge mess of crumbs on the floor, carpet, table and seats, but she gets the food into the stomach alright.

Lesson: Don’t be afraid of things or tasks that may look insurmountable. Consider breaking them into small pieces and doing what you can in your abilities to ‘soften’ them till you can swallow/conquer them.

In summary, I am learning, from her, to be a go getter, to be brave and fearless, to take risks, to get up when I fall, to move on, to tackle big things in small manageable chunks, and well, to have as much fun as is possible while doing it all. Do you see why they say there is a lot we can learn from children? I do!

And that is why when I grow up I want to be like my daughter Lulu who is 9 months old today


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