Off The Wall: Asian Parents

Over the weekend, lunch and/or dinner with my family will often result in someone bringing out the iPad. Last weekend, my daughter shared with us a video she had found on YouTube. She enjoyed the clip very much and wanted to share its humour with us. Off the Wall is a group that has posted many videos on the Asian stereotype.

As we were watching it, we could not help but laugh. It seemed as if the video was descibing my husband (the Asian part of our marriage) and his siblings. Now we tease him whenever he does something that is typical of an Asian parent 🙂

Does the video describe your experience of Asian parents?

© Colline Kook-Chun, 2016

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Day 15: Life Changes

My life changed even more than in the preceding years when I migrated north. There were times when I felt I was still adjusting to being a wife, a stepmother, and a mom. Changing countries added yet another dimension to the changes I was experiencing. I had accepted these changes when I agreed to marriage, and then to relocating. My acceptance of them, however, did not make them any easier to bear.

I have mentioned already that the move made me more self reliant and resilient. Becoming a mom without any outside support brought about changes as well. I slowly came to be more demonstrative (I certainly could not help hugging my children) and more creative with my time (cooking was often done on the fly while keeping an eye on two toddlers). I quickly learned to be less strict about the neatness of my home – the children seemed to bring with them a little chaos and I did not have a servant to help me clean up. I definitely learned to go with the flow as young children cannot be rushed to eat, to wake up, or even get ready to go out.

Moving north altered my marriage too. I believe the move made our marriage stronger. We learned to rely on another, to trust in one another, and to get comfort from one another. My husband and I have spent much time together talking together as friends. We have planned things together, steadied one another during rough patches, and laughed together.

My life did change when I migrated north. And it is a life, with all of its ups and downs, that has been lived for each moment.

photo (10)If you have missed any of my Migrating North posts, head on over here. 

© Colline Kook-Chun, 2014

(This post was written for the FMF 31 day challenge hosted by Kate Motaung. Today’s prompt is: life)

Day 12: Eating the Rest

“Mommy, can I please have the rest?”  Those are words I never thought I would hear my daughter say.

When we first arrived in Canada, my youngest had not been eating solid food for too long. She was picky with what she would eat and would turn her nose up at things like beef, lettuce leaves and tofu. My other daughter would have her least favourites too thus making it difficult to cook food that they would both eat. I remember sitting at the table for long periods of time waiting for my girls to finish their meal. We began cooking favourites: broccoli, fried rice, noodles, lentils, macaroni cheese. We encouraged them to try stir fried green vegetables, pumpkin, tomato, and cauliflower. We were not always successful.

Now that they have reached their teens, my daughters have become much better eaters. My youngest, who was such a picky eater, will fill herself up with her favourite foods. They now look forward to eating their meals and often make requests for their favourites. And when I hear “Mommy, can I have the rest?” I smile and invite her to empty the pot.

photo (10)If you have missed any of my Migrating North posts, head on over here. 

© Colline Kook-Chun, 2014

(This post was written for the FMF 31 day challenge hosted by Kate Motaung. Today’s prompt is: rest)

Day 10: Caring for My Children

My first job when I arrived in Toronto was caring for my children. When we discovered that the cost of daycare was prohibitive, my husband and I made the decision that I would look after my children myself. From early morning to evening, I spent time with them and took them with me wherever I went. This was true especially during my first months in the city when my husband was back in Johannesburg working.

Have I ever regretted the decision to be a stay at home mom? Never. I have had the opportunity to watch my children grow from infants to the girls they are now. I had the chance to see their first steps, hear their first words, watch them as they wrote a word for the first time. Watching over them in the first years of their lives enabled me to be what I had longed for – a mom who was able to savour her children’s childhood moments. It was not always a rosy experience as there were times when I longed for adult conversation. However, the time spent with my girls have given them a sense of security and belonging.

Now that they are older and more independent, they no longer need as much care as they did before. I do find myself still watching over them though albeit in a different way.

photo (10)If you have missed any of my Migrating North posts, head on over here. 

© Colline Kook-Chun, 2014

(This post was written for the FMF 31 day challenge hosted by Kate Motaung. Today’s prompt is: care)

Reading with Little Ones

When growing up I remember I was always reading: with my mom or on my own. As I reach back into my early memories, I recall my mother reading The Folk of the Faraway Tree to me and my sisters. I know she read us Noddy as well because I remember the collection we used to have. I have memories of sitting with my parents in the living room reading my book while they read theirs.

With my own children, I have created the same habits. When they were little, I read to them before bedtime – one, two, or maybe even three stories. I looked at picture books with them and discussed the drawings with them. We would lie on my bed, the three of us, all reading: me with my novel in my hand, and they with their picture books. Sometimes they would fall asleep but often just paging through the books relaxed them and gave them the energy to continue with the day.

The Impact of Nature AND Nurture on Your Child’s Reading Development
Photo credit: http://thestudyacademy.ca

Now I work with young children and I have come to realise that not all parents read every day with their sons and daughters. I have had to teach some of my students how to hold a book, how to treat the stories that they are reading with respect, and treat the books with care. Often I am repairing books: taping in torn pages or repairing a ripped page. I am hopeful that by the end of the school year, they will have learned to respect their reading material a little more. And to remember that there are others that would like to read the book that they are currently reading.

When I am asked by parents what they can do to ready their child for school, or even what homework they can do with their child, I suggest that they read with their son or daughter – no matter in what language. It is in reading with the little ones that you can teach them how to handle books, to look at the images of the picture book, to predict what the story is going to be about, to retell the story. And it is reading with little ones that you foster within them a love of reading, and a love of learning.

As I am readying myself for the start of the new academic year, I find myself relaxing with a book in my hand. Not only am I doing so, but so are my daughters. It is the visits to another world that I hope to encourage in the new crop of students I will meet in September.

Do you have the habit of reading?

© Colline Kook-Chun, 2014

(This post was inspired by Miz B’s Musing Mondays)

Time to Breathe

Every day it is go, go, go. Moving from one moment to the next:

Fixing breakfast.

Packing lunches.

Waking up the children.

Seeing that they are ready to go to school.

Working.

Coming home.

Ensuring that homework is done.

Preparing dinner.

Washing dishes and cleaning up.

People say that a mother’s work is never done – and I have felt the truth of that statement since I have become a mother. There were times when I had no time to breathe, no time for myself. I had lost myself in my role of mommy and my life revolved around the children in my life.

Now as my children enter their teens, I find I have a little time to breathe, to find that time for myself. To become, a little, the person I was before they came into my life. Sometimes we take the time to breathe together: we watch a movie, or read together. Sometimes go for a walk. I enjoy these moments and am thankful for them even though I realise a mother’s work is never done – just that the nature of the work with my teenage daughters has changed.

5-minute-friday-1Do you find time to breathe?

© Colline Kook-Chun, 2014

(This post was inspired by the Five Minute Friday prompt: exhale)

BFF Sisters

My daughters are very close in age (one year and three weeks to be precise). The small difference was a struggle for me when they were babies and toddlers; but the advantages of their being born close far outweighs the disadvantages. One of the pros is definitely the fact that they have become best friends. My girls have done many things together in their short lifetime. For example, they have played dolls together, sat on the sofa and read together, watched Pokemon together, swum together, learned TaeKwonDo together.

© Colline Kook-Chun, 2014
Best Friends Forever. © Colline Kook-Chun, 2014

I love watching them walk together holding a conversation that no one else can hear. My hope as I watch them is that no person ever comes between them and breaks the strong bond of their relationship. They are a support to one another and I would love them to continue supporting one another in their adult lives.

Do you have a close bond with your sibling?

© Colline Kook-Chun, 2014

(This post was inspired by the WordPress Weekly Photo Challenge prompt: Between)

 

Motherhood

The water broke and I was reminded of what my body had been preparing for during the last nine months. The wetness encouraged me to change quickly, pick up my overnight bag, and drive quickly to the hospital with my husband. Admissions, and then the bed – all this while experiencing the contractions that were a precursor to the actual delivery.

The delivery … There are a few things I remember: the anchor of the motif on the t-shirt my husband was wearing; the contractions and my efforts to breathe through the pain; holding onto my husband’s arm with all the strength that I have; the faint bustle of the nursing staff and the commands of my doctor. All this, however, faded into the distance when I heard my daughter’s cry and saw her wrinkled, pink body for the first time. Holding my baby in my arms, I realized I had become a mother, a mommy, a mom. The delivery of this child was my second task – the first was carrying her safety for nine months. I prayed that I was up to the task that lay ahead of me.

My little one is now a teenager and we will celebrate her fourteenth birthday in a few weeks. I look at her, as well as my second, and feel that I have been blessed to experience motherhood with these two wonderful girls. Motherhood has not always been easy: interrupted nights, decisions to be taken, sacrifices to be made. But would I give it up? No, I would not. Motherhood is an experience that I do not regret and one that I look forward to continuing.

What has been your experience of motherhood?

A-Z blogging challenge© Colline Kook-Chun, 2014

(This post was inspired by the A – Z Challenge hosted by Frizz. This week M has been tagged)

Mighty Dad

He lifts his son high up onto his shoulders, thrilling in the weight of the boy’s small body. “I can see everywhere. You have made me tall Dad!” Simple words and yet they bring so much pleasure. He never expected fatherhood to be this: a moment in his life where he became a hero, a mighty dad who is able to achieve anything. He could not get used to his son looking at him with eyes filled with adoration and the knowledge that all which is asked could be done. Yes, he had always wanted children. Maybe because it was expected of him: men started a career, married, bought a house, had children, retired, and enjoyed grandchildren. Parenthood, however, became much more than was advertised. He was looked at with trusting eyes when encouraging his son to take his first steps; he was seen to be a hero when fixing a favourite toy; he was lovingly cuddled while watching the movie of the month. “Let’s go Dad. We need to get to the park quickly so that we can practise our soccer. Aaron and his dad will never beat us!” And the best thing of all? He has the excuse to play like a child again.

5-minute-friday-1Have you ever felt like a mighty Dad?

© Colline Kook-Chun, 2014

(This post was inspired by the Five Minute Friday prompt: Mighty)

 

Words of Encouragement

Words of encouragement. A small gift that can help a person blossom as a step is taken into the unknown.

As a teacher of young children, I spend a lot of my day encouraging children to do their best – or even to try new things. I encourage a girl to speak up and use her voice in order to ask for what she needs; I encourage a boy to try some art and to move away from only using blocks to create; I encourage a child to try writing a few letters; I encourage a student to sound out words and try read what has been printed in a book. These words of encouragement have become a an integral part of me: “You can do it!”; “All I ask is that you do your best”; “I am so proud of you for trying”.

Giving words of encouragement takes so little effort and yet can seem so much to the one receiving them. I think back on my life and I know that I have done many things because there was someone who encouraged me: going to university; travelling to Europe on my own in my early twenties; beginning my career as a teacher; getting my driver’s licence; cooking my first meal for my friends; dancing in competitions. Remembering this I now try to encourage my own children to try what they tentatively think of doing: whether it is to try out for a team sport, or to get involved in a club at school. In this way, I hope they gain the confidence to step into the unknown.

What have you been encouraged to do recently?

(This post was inspired by the Five Minute Friday prompt: Encouragement)