Whilst becoming a “proud parent” is said to happen at the birth of one’s child, I was thinking of the things that make me really proud of my little girl. Sure I am proud of the fact that she’s smart: she could count to 20 in two languages before her peers in her class could manage counting in their mother-tongue, proud of the fact she knew her alphabet at 2, and of her inquisitive mind and constant desire to play with numbers, making up sums from everyday things and some not small numbers either, and the fact that she’s so interested in books. However there is one event that happened recently that I am most proud and every time I replay it in my mind it really makes me that kind of proud that feels like you’re glowing.
Since moving to Germany, the culture transition has been hard for Isabella. Here turn-taking in playgrounds and queuing isn’t really a thing. It’s all part of learning social skills and holding your own in the playground, learning how to stand up to others and join in with the other kids in a more rough-and-tumble way. Some would argue that this approach isn’t so great, but there are benefits as sometimes in life you do need to stand up for yourself, push yourself to the forefront and learn how to deal with all sorts of personalities. And so, I have taken the view that it’s important skill-building for a successful life in Germany; admittedly, more difficult when you are thrown into it without any understanding of the language and what the other children are saying. And of course I am also proud of Isabella for taking this on too. But that’s not it.
We were at Oktoberfest waiting for a “turn” on the high swings. Each time it stopped, B and I raced up the steps to grab a swing, and each time we were pushed and shoved out of the way (by parents too might I add) and back down the steps we descended with our disappointed faces. This must’ve happened about 3 or 4 times and I was getting a bit angry myself, though Isabella not so. I thought as a parent I should explain to her what was happening and as I told her that people were pushing us out of the way as that’s what they do here in Germany, and sometimes people aren’t so nice to each other, she simply explained to me “Mummy we want to be nice so we won’t do that,” and then it dawned on me what a beautiful girl I had before me.
Whilst there are skills to be learned in the playground, I am not going to teach my child to be pushy and rude to get what she wants. She may not get everything she wants this way, but she will have a life full of friends and happiness, and all the success that follows.
Three is definitely the age where you really begin to be proud of who your children are becoming as they start to share their own thoughts and show their true selves, rather than imitating the world around. I look forward to finding out so much more about who Isabella is.