Written on June 6, 2011 at 2:17 pm , by Paula Chin
No, I don’t mean the “See, what did I tell you?” or the I’m-your-mom-so-I-know-better variety. I mean the really good kind, the invaluable life lesson that helps your kid grow…
I just got an email from my daughter’s 4th grade teacher, telling me how in recent months my girl has blossomed from a “quiet, behind the scenes” student to one who always raises her hands, is jazzed to share her thoughts and opinions, dares to be different, and is brimming with confidence. Wait, there’s more! This coming of age coincides with a big surge academically, including one of the highest scores on last weeks math test (please, let me gloat a little), mainly because she’s asking more questions, pushing herself harder when she doesn’t understand something–you get the picture.
So after passing the happy news to her dad, I sat back, reflected a moment, and gave myself a little pat on the back. At my worst I can be a tiger mom, holding her to exacting standards, scolding her for sloppy or lazy thinking, making her play that piano etude 5 times until she gets it right. And I’ve lectured her over and over on the value and rewards of hard work and not backing off—to the point of overkill, I’m sure. But now my girl is blossoming, and what a joy to behold. Sigh. Guess I may have been doing things pretty much just right. Like many moms, I was being too hard not on my daughter, but myself.
Written on May 16, 2011 at 11:50 am , by Paula Chin
Just about every day, my 10-year-old daughter Nat and I and log onto the hawkcam at NYTimes.com to check on Violet and Bobby, a pair of red-tailed hawks and proud parents to a brand new hatchling in their nest overlooking Washington Square Park. Before baby emerged May 6, it was strangely soothing watching Violet sit on her eggs, so patient and Zen-like, her feathers ruffling in the spring breeze. And what drama! For a while it seemed the window of opportunity had closed and no eggs would hatch, then just one did. Now Violet has an injured leg, and avian experts had to decide whether intervention was needed (too risky, they decided, plus mom is doing okay). All of this more moving than any episode of Modern Family or Brothers & Sisters, and full of life lessons—in parenting, unconditional love, loss, and the weird stuff that ends up in urban nests—for me and my girl. Back at our place, we have two cats (Boo and Bo) and walk the neighbor’s dog just for fun; at Nat’s dad’s place in Pennsylvania, she has a black Lab (Nina), guinea pig (Peanut), Shetland pony (Meatball), and knows a neighbor’s hens by name, thanking them as she scoops up eggs to bring back to NYC. And I won’t even go into that delightful, ginormous, slobbery St. Bernard we met on the street yesterday. Ah, animals. Full-fledged or honorary, they’re definitely members of the family. As a parent, I wouldn’t have it any other way.