Monthly Archives

February 2017

Be a part of their childhood memories

February 24, 2017

Before I became a mother, I had a simple travel camera. I loved to take pictures anytime anywhere, during the travels or at festivities. I made photos of others, but I liked being in them too. After I had a child, my photographic ambitions rose to a new level. Soon enough, I bought a high-quality camera, and then another state-of-the-art miracle of the digital age. While I’m writing these lines, I’m plucking up the courage to admit the purchase of the third device and thinking about a professional flash kit at the same time…

The typical syndrome of a mother dreaming of making each moment of her child’s life eternal…

Believe me, all three cameras make fantastic photos and I’ve tried to learn a thing or two about handling them properly. I’ve made a dozen beautiful photo books, which are often browsed through and commented on by my daughter. That’s right: kids love to look at photos, especially if they’re in them.

It’s all very well, except for one small detail: I’m rarely in any of those pictures. Who takes pictures of the photograph? Most of my friends are not very good at handling sophisticated devices, so I, the mother of the child, mostly operate behind the camera. Each time I make a new album, I try to find someone to take pictures of me with my child without cutting off a piece of my body or spoiling all harmony in the picture.

What’s the point of this story?

Dear mothers, try to find a place in the childhood memories of your kids. Today, when I look at the photos from my own childhood, I feel like crying when I see my mother and me. Don’t be like me, ask a passerby, a friend, anyone! The hairdo or clothes don’t matter. What matters is that your child has photos of you, that they will look at with tender feelings and show to others. Be a part of your child’s memories, and not just the eye behind the camera, the finger on the switch or the photo album designer.

Believe it or not – my child is ill!

February 14, 2017

Here’s a subject I hadn’t found very fascinating until recently as my daughter had always been strong and healthy, even when everybody around her was ill. The first few winters brought on a few colds, but they didn’t last or leave consequences. While other children from her environment could stay home sick for two weeks, she’d normally fully recover within days. For a single mother, as you will surely be able to appreciate, this is a gift from heaven. I was spared taking time off work a lot, spending a small fortune on babysitters or asking relatives for help.

But, some diseases are harder to avoid, so my child, along with half of the children and staff in her day-care, came down with chickenpox. Picture this: parents exchange messages on Viber, complaining about the situation while I mercilessly tease them. The next moment, my mobile phone rings, and the kindergarten principle tells me: “Don’t act so relaxed”…

And so…

I’ve had chickenpox and I still remember all the details of this illness that is so common in children.

So, what are we to do (thankfully, such diseases are relatively rare and cannot strike twice)?  

The most important thing is to take time off or a sick leave. This is the only reasonable solution and I believe that all employers should show some empathy and understanding. Besides, you should always, always have a reliable baby-sitter ready on the bench in case you need a quick replacement. The woman who helps me occasionally is a retired nurse. She’s still young enough to offer a helping hand when needed, and at the same time experienced and knowledgeable about medicine, which may be useful.

It would be great if you could also rely on your parents, relatives and friends. To make this practicable, your child should be in permanent and close contact with them. Good relationships with your relatives and friends are not only the source of happiness for you, but also a precondition for proper development and self-confidence of your child.

In short, all single parents, and I speak from experience, must think hard and do their best to avoid all the bad stuff that might befall them. Even if you’re on good terms with your ex, like me, you should always think ahead and rely primarily on yourself.

On the importance of starting to learn at young age

February 7, 2017

When I was little, kids started going to school at the age of 7 or 6. The educational systems differ, but children now reach the school age much earlier. So, what used to be a kindergarten is now mostly called “early learning centre” and that institution no longer serves the purpose of merely looking after the children while their parents are at work. Today’s early learning centres are places where kids actually study. In my opinion, they shouldn’t be burdened with too much serious stuff at the tender age. Parents are sometimes too ambitious and they have unrealistic expectations from their children. The life ahead of them will be full of challenges and temptations anyway. But, we can’t allow our kids to step into the world of the adults unprepared. So I accepted the concept of early learning. My daughter started taking French lessons. Why? Well, because I like the language and I think it’s only a start. The more languages you know, the more you are human. The other reason is that I also speak French and I wanted to share some of this knowledge with my kid.

Finding a language school for a small child wasn’t easy because apparently not many children study French. But I did find it eventually and my daughter is now in a “group” of two, the other member being another girl her age. So far, so good! Once a week I take her there after work and try to listen in. And then, as we drive home, we exchange a few words in French.

Do you know how small children learn languages? They are taught songs, they draw, colour, play… and they try to figure out what the teacher is saying with a lot of mimicking. It is by no means easy. Songs have been learnt so I have the pleasure of listening to “Sur le pont d’Avignon” and “Petit escargot porte sur son dos…” several times a day. Don’t get me wrong, my daughter can carry a tune. But she gets mad every time I try to correct her pronunciation so the well known songs now sound a little bit different.

For now, these are the only classes she’s taking, but I intend to add a few items on that list and introduce another foreign language next year.

Ambitious, me? No way…