It’s been quiet a while I didn’t write about My ‘Ain. I used to read a lot about breastfeeding, talk to people about babies; but I rarely does it now. I made myself immerse in my work, my hobbies and stressed about what to eat everyday. Living in Holland makes me wonder everyday what to cook that I totally forgot about this small creature I raised.
Here in Holland, they have a goverment organization called Vitras to give support in raising children from birth. It started when we received a letter from Vitras asking about what vaccination Ain took previously in Malaysia. Later, we received a letter for an appointment with them at Jachtlan 15, Bilthoven.
It was interesting how the child care here was different than what we received in Malaysia; we were always assumed as good enough to be a parent. Here, I like the way they ask if my daughter is smart enough. Is my daughter development is in-line with her age. They questioned about the feedings, the previous history of us, the simple tests to see how mentally developed she is. And they asked if ‘Ain can talk. I was stunned because it had never occurred to me talking is important. She is not even 2, what do you expect?
They offered house visit for the second time to discuss about ‘Ain. Well, it was a terrific moment, and I decided to concentrate in this issue as seriously as I can and agreed for the second visit. Actually, both of us did not think that raising a child is difficult. Who cares if she can’t speak now, she will soon. Who cares if she was bottle fed at night twice. And who cares if she misbehave now. I believe she will learn soon; WRONG assumptions!
As an Asian, we observe a lot. People rarely discuss things, talks about feelings even in our own family. I remembered to be scolded if I misbehave, I rarely told my mother what happened at school, I didn’t know about hormones and how to handle it when I was a teenager. I was always not a close knit to my parents until I was 20’s. I guess that is not a way my child should be raised; we never tell what we feel and how we want our children to behave.
When we met Lien, the childcare from Vitras, she told us that in Holland, people wants small children to talk as early as they can. Ain was always a good singer at home, but we didn’t know how to teach her to talk. The problem was basically from us. I knew I was never at home during the day, my husband is not a talkative person, we never talk to ‘AIn since we underestimate her understanding of things. Lien told us, tell ‘Ain what we are doing, give names to everything, tell her many time the same story book and always talks to her. I’m not a type of person who says what i’m doing, same goes with my hubby. I thought by knowing what she wants is enough, but actually telling ‘Ain what I expect her to do is a good way to teach. Although she can’t speak, but she is recording all the words. If we offered her these words, she can easily use it and later speak for herself. So if I I want her to learn saying “I want to watch DVD”, go to the DVD player, point it to her and say,” Mama, I want to watch DVD”. You have to make that a habit.
We told Lien that we want to teach her to walk, not running around during our outings. She said, tell her before going out that she need to behave if she wants to walk too. If she started to run, tell her again. And if she runs again, put her on the stroller and say again that you doesn’t like her behaving that way. You have to sit in front of her, make an eye contact at the same level and speak to her nicely. Always tell her until she behave the way you like. Well, she will cry at first, but next time she knows she can’t walk with you if she runs again. She will behave as you want. When she behave well, always remind her that you like it and reward her. Always tell her why you desn’t like the naughty behaviour because it’s always a reason that teach them why they shouldn’t do naughty things.
We finally asked Lien how to stop her from waking up in the middle of the night for milk. She said, start to ignore it is the best way to do. Before sleeping, tell her, she will get her milk tomorrow morning. If she wakes up tonight, you will not give her the milk. Even she cried for hours, and days… do not respond and she will know that crying is not the way to ask for milk. I also asked Lien how to teach ‘Ain to brush her teeth. Lien said, try using mirror. It might help.
We tried to teach ‘Ain to talk and to behave properly. She stopped her feedings at night. It had been a week now. She opened her mouth in front of the mirror. But talking is still on going. My husband talks more than before to ‘Ain and we both say what we want her to do. We believe that she understands it. We just have to believe…