Her prosthetic eye moves out of alignment easily nowadays, and when it’s misaligned, it can appear frightening to others. When that happens, I am tasked to realign it using a small suction cup. Knowing how uncomfortable it is, she drags her heels on it. If she flatly refuses, I have to clamp her down with my legs and use one hand to pry open her eyelids while squeezing in the suction cup while she cries murder.
Today, she decided to try doing it herself. With some verbal guidance, she caught the hang of it and not only took it out, but re-inserted and aligned her eye! No tantrums, no screaming. Mighty proud of herself for having achieved this milestone, she ran off to brag to her dad and granddad, while I shared this accomplishment with her doctor via email!
This photo was taken in May 2018 in a sauna. My mother-in-law had been avoiding bathhouses because she had mastectomy done as cancer treatment. In Korea, appearances are important and physical “flaws” can cause major embarrassment. I somehow managed to persuade her by saying that everyone will be focusing on themselves rather than people-watching in the bathhouse.
In the end, the bathhouse turned out to be more terrifying for me than for her. Emmett was a tiny bubba 8 months young, and there were only a few pools with a suitable temperature for him (~37°C). I’m not sure if you’ve encountered Korean ajummas, but their level of entitlement is next level. A bunch of ajummas waded over and wrangled Emmett out of my arms because he was “so cute” and they all wanted to hold him. Years of studying the language and culture of Korea did not prepare me for this.
Two years should be enough to recover from that traumatic experience (kidding, we busted our budget on Japan last year) and so we booked tickets to Korea and Jeju for late April through May. That timing is perfect because it overlaps two Public Holidays here and the Golden Week in Korea. Taking long leave in Korea is unheard of and it was the perfect time for my BIL and SIL to hang out as well.
From the way things are going, I doubt the dust will settle in time for us to visit. We’ve since cancelled the Jeju trip. I’ve put in a refund request for our other flight too because nobody can come out alive after 14 days indoors with two kids. Maybe they’ll survive physically, but they’ll be dead inside. 😭
Right now, the only thing that needs to die is C19. Someone once told me that certain gods are mercenary gods – you give them offerings in exchange for things that you want. That’s an idea.
Elise has been extremely trying. I’ve read that this is the time preschoolers start acting up and pushing boundaries. She’s been terribly “defiant”, “aggressive”, “rude” and “ill-behaved”, as adults would put it. I’ve been telling her to use her words to communicate her intention to the other party, but it falls on deaf ears. Monster Elise doesn’t show up all the time, but when she does, it’s as if she’s the Devil Incarnate.
The object of contention yesterday was an innocent laundry basket with a ladybug design that Elise upturned and wore over her head. Emmett wanted to have a turn and instead of using her words, she used her hands to signal her dissatisfaction. Picture two neighbourhood strays fighting. That’s similar to how the two fought, except their fingernails aren’t as sharp as claws.
I intervened, because it was a long day and I didn’t want to rush either or two kids to the emergency room in my pajamas. Removing the laundry basket and keeping it high up, I chided the both of them that if they didn’t know how to take turns, then nobody could play.
I dragged both of them to the bathroom and Elise was not having any of it. Unleashing all the pain techniques in her limited repertoire, she pinched, scratched, attempted to bite and even spat at me. My immediate reaction was to brandish a prompt smack on her cheek. Neither respectful nor classy and frowned upon in the entire Western parenting world.
More tears and yelling.
The second step involved Words of Hurt, where she threw out lines like “I don’t like friends. I don’t need friends. I don’t like you. I’ll beat you and then you’ll die. I don’t like Emmett!”.
These words don’t reach deep into my heart because 1. I know she doesn’t actually mean it and 2. I am stone cold inside. =| Restraining her arms by her side, I explained that she has to use her words to communicate her intentions and that if she uses violence, the other party will likely react violently. That’s why I don’t fancy corporal punishment as a method to correct “misbehavior”, even with explanations before and after. There’s just no logical reason to explain why they aren’t allowed to hit other people who misbehave.
The thing about young children is that they rarely bear grudges. She was laughing over a joke with Emmett soon after I released her from my long lecture.
A book that I’m currently reading at a snail’s pace talks about reframing the idea of discipline and focusing on the connection with the child rather than piling on consequences and negative reinforcements. That’s not to say that the children turn out to be spoiled brats.
Rather, it’s to learn how to consistently set limits and address the root cause that’s causing the behaviour (e.g. attention-seeking, over-tiredness etc.) instead of reacting to the “symptom” (e.g. throwing tantrums, slapping, hitting etc.). Respectful parenting is not permissive parenting. My style of parenting is far from respectful, and there’s a steep learning curve. Lots to learn.
Tonight, Elise cried herself to sleep over an ice-cream that she didn’t get to eat. Oh, to be a child, where not getting an ice-cream is that devastating.