I promised Oona that we’d allocate some space in our room for us to “practice schooling”. Going to a big school is a dream of hers and “practicing” for it is her motivation for a lot of things. I’m teaching her that preparing for it is just as important as actually going. This means practicing her listening skills, learning how to follow rules and instructions, and putting things in their proper places among other things.
So a few weeks ago, we fixed up a corner in the room to be our designated “school area”. I told her she’d best help me because it’s part of getting ready to go to a real school. The room was a holy mess anyway with all her stuff strewn about, so now was as good a time as any! We brought out her little plastic worktable and chairs and I let her have my collapsible storage boxes to put all her things in.
She picked up all her stuff, segregated the hard toys from the soft toys and put the legos, puzzles and blocks in their respective “houses” (containers where they ‘live’) . She even helped me fix her books and put aside those that Olly could already inherit.
That done, we threw away broken toys, junk paper and debris, swept and mopped; and put her baby dolls to sleep on top of the toy boxes.
I guess that activity helped concretize a lot of things for her, two major concepts I was gunning for being the importance of preparation and helping out.
Nowadays, she’s taken up other ways of helping without any prompting from anyone. I know that half of that helpfulness comes from curiosity and wanting to be involved in absolutely everything (sometimes to the point of exasperation on my part!). But what makes my little momma’s heart swell with motherly love and pride is when she says she wants to help and you know she just really wants to.
‘Mom, I want to help wichoo!’, then off like a shot sometimes without even waiting for me to answer. Often like predictive text, she’ll just hand me whatever she’s previously observed me needing for that particular activity she’s assisting me with. Mostly it’s with taking care of Olly and cooking noodles she likes to help me out with. She’d get me diapers and wipes, advise me to put jelly on her sister’s butt (‘So no rashes, Mom!’) and distract olly with funny faces or a toy while i wrestle a diaper on. When it’s reading time, she’d get a book for herself and one for olly.
Recently, Olly fell off the bed while I was so weak from a really bad tooth pain. Oona scrambled out of bed and marched calmly downstairs to inform Lola that she needed the ice pack because Olly fell. She also got me medicine and a water bottle because my teeth hurt. She recommended I brush my teeth so that they’ll be happy too; after which, she insisted on being Doctor Oona and put the medicine in my mouth and giving me water to drink. Then she kissed little sobbing Olly and said, ‘It’s okay, sweetheart!’.
I wanted to cry! I haven’t totally been a monster at all *sniff* Seems I’m doing something right!
|Assistant Chef Oona
She likes to participate in cooking too, whether it’s helping Lola peel vegetables, piling the chopped vegetables in a bowl or putting the peelings in a container for the organic waste bin. With me, she’s in charge of the spice rack and handing me the noodles or macaroni to put in boiling water. I let her stir on occasion too when there’s no danger of anything hot spilling. Watching Safety Patrol on Playhouse Disney helps a lot because she’s very careful and conscious about safety measures around the house. She also tries to help wash dishes with Daddy (she’s in charge of putting them on the dish rack to dry), holding the dust pan when Lola cleans the floor (Oona bids for the broom or mop but she makes more of a mess) and helps fold and put away our clean laundry. She sometimes wears our clean laundry on her head first or pretends that the socks are long gloves. She’s still a baby, after all! Play is still a central part of her life!
Oona also packs away after playing, turns off the tv after watching and makes sure her shoes and slippers are neatly in their proper place. She sets the table, puts water from the dispenser in the drinking glasses and calls everyone to the table to eat.
Automatically, she shares anything she eats with Olly who is now a very adventurous eater (‘Mommy, pwede kay Olly ato?’ or ‘Mommy can Olly eat this?’) and puts her bowl in the sink when she’s done. She volunteers to change Olly too when I’m getting them ready for bed. Of course she can’t, but she manages to help get pyjamas for both of them, take Olly’s shirt off, put dirty clothes in the hamper (‘Dirty na ‘to, Mommy?’) and change her own clothes.
I can go on and never finish this entry as every day brings a new revelation. Little things to us other people but accomplishments to her and milestones worthy of pride for me. They may be everyday, ordinary things but it’s showing me that my little girl is not only practising for her school days, she’s really getting ready for independent life in general. I can only hope I do a good enough job of equipping her for that!
Now if I can be sure that I’ll be ready for her independepence! Ayayay!