Wednesday, January 21, 2009

Am I a Key?

Monica asks in her latest post if you are a Key. She writes:

"Parents who are keys often appear to be loving parents because they dote on their kids, wait on them hand and foot, and meet their every need (and more). I have seen teenagers who've never taken the bus on their own, who recklessly squander their parents' money, who wouldn't be able to iron a handkerchief if their lives depended on it.

Beneath the veneer of what these parents call love, I believe is a deeper issue - one of insecurity. Whether conscious or sub-conscious, raising dependent children reflects on parents' more insidious fears that they will one day not be needed, so they strive to be indispensable in their kids' lives." I a Key? Well, no daughters so don't have to be a Key to lock them up :P

I am a Key in one area...worrying about PSLE and DSA, that's it. If there weren't these two guillotine blades hanging over my head, I wouldn't have anything to actually fret about. I would actually be...GASP!...dispensable. Thank God for PSLE?!!

But in all other areas, I don't think I am a Key at all. When I still had to feed Sean, you should see how impatient I was, scolding him at mealtimes for taking too long, and telling him how 3-year olds could already eat by themselves, AND with chopsticks too!

Brian has been doing stuff for himself and helping his brother for years now. But Sean has become very independent too. Since Sean started happily eating a big plate of food by himself every meal, my role has been reduced to being my kids' favourite chef. In the evenings, when he's tired, he says good night and tucks himself to bed while the rest of us continue doing whatever we're doing. He's the first to wake up every morning. This morning, he brushed his teeth, prepared his breakfast of jam and bread with milk, changed into layers of winter clothing, gloves and winter boots, and he's all set for school. This would never happen if my Mum, definitely a Key, were still taking care of them. I remember my maid was still helping to change Brian into his uniform when he was in Primary 1.

The boys still don't make their bed or tidy up their room daily, and I don't do that for them either. So it helps that I'm not fastidious about having a tip top home. But when my mood strikes, or when we're having guests, I will order, "Clean up in 5 minutes, anything not in its place gets thrown out." You should see how fast they scurry. I have to admit, they are much better at tidying up than I am.

I don't hang around in school to find out if they have friends or not, or if they're being bullied. If there's a problem, I presume they'll settle it themselves and only tell me if they can't. Rest assured though if there is a problem, the protective Mother Hen in me will be there to take care of it. My kids know I am on their side always and will be there for them when they need me, but they don't need me hovering and watching over them all the time.

When Brian was still a tot, we were at my friend's house one day, and he fell on their marble floor. Instantaneously, I see my friend and her husband rushing towards him, and I think that frightened him more than his fall did, so he started bawling, when he would normally just pick himself up without so much as an ouch. Aiyoh, I told them to just leave him be; I will know if he requires attention.

We can't be running after our kids for every little bump they encounter, and that applies to all other bumps in life when they're no longer tots. The hardest part of being a parent must be letting go and seeing our kids get hurt, but we've all gone through hurt and rejection, and we're still in one piece. So they'll be fine. Really. REALLY. You a Key? :)


monlim said...

Lilian, you are most definitely NOT a key. Brian is probably one of the most independent kids I know! Even Lesley-Anne isn't so capable though her survival instincts are quite strong.

And like you, I'm definitely more bochap than most mums, except for exams. If my kids are waiting for me to cook and clean for them, they'll die hungry and dirty. But at least got Band 1 in report book to show for it :D

Lilian said...

We are both bochap in all areas except exams. Actually, just Singapore exams, which are so mindboggling.

And if it were up to me, I wouldn't be cooking and cleaning either...I couldn't cook a decent pot of rice till I left Singapore.

Domestic Goddess said...

LOL! Lilian, I see some simliarities between you and I. Hmm.. the protective mother hen in me leaps out of my outwardly 'cool' persona if my tot gets bullied. Otherwise, I usually let them sort things out with their playmates.

My mum was a BIG key, so I think I got influenced though I don't think I will be the kind who does everything for my kids when they are older. I do expect my boys to chip in to help with housework and do things for themselves when they are a bit older.

I am not worried about being dispensable. Actually i can't wait for freedom! But I know myself lah.. think I will always check their homework, nag at them everyday, esp at exams time in future.

Lilian said...

DG: Hey, your mum was a Key and yet you turned out fine eh? My mum wasn't a Key to me, but she is to my kids.

Lilian said...

I've gotta correct myself. My mum wasn't a Key to me when I was growing up, she was too busy working. BUT she is a Key to me now, in that whenever she's with me, she does EVERYTHING. I don't have to lift a finger. The kids are cleaner, get better food, do more outdoor stuff, when she takes care of them, that's why I have no qualms about leaving them with her in Malaysia while I scoot off for my own holiday. I just realised it's really shiok to have a Key...hee.

bACk in GERMANY said...

Wow... respect! Lots to learn from you... to have the balance of being aloof at little falls and bumps and yet rising up to be a Mother Hen in a situation to protect her kids from bullies.

Can help me train Bryan to look after Kristin? Ermmm, I need a Key! :o)

Lilian said...

:) Okaylah, I exaggerate that bit about Mother Hen...the extent of my involvment is maybe make some noise to the school, but definitely won't confront another parent or wag my fingers at the kid.

Not sure if it's a good thing or not, but the few times I saw with my own eyes kids being nasty to mine, my kids were actually oblivious to the offences; they are rather blur in that area. I was the one who was upset, and just stared daggers at the little brats. So even if other kids shove them a bit or make faces at them, I won't really know unless I'm there to witness it. There are benefits to being blur I guess.

Aiyah, I'm sure Bryan already takes care of Kristin well. When Brian was 5/6, he had EVERYTHING done for him. He couldn't help himself, much less help a younger sibling.