Tuesday, July 19, 2011

Egocentric or Altruistic - a challenge to overberring parents

Zhuzhu does not look like someone who is afraid of anything in life.  She speaks, laughs, cries, jumps up and down wherever and whenever she feels like doing AT HOME.  However, she is a completely different person outside.  As long as someone says hi to her, she freezes, hides, or turns her head to another way from the voices.  She acts embarrassingly "impolite" as if she had never been taught any magic words.  It goes without saying that she doesn't greet anyone, not even her teachers if they are out of their respective classrooms.  Even at dropoff everyday, she would pretend that she does not know her teacher.  She acts like those teachers are no longer worthy of knowing if they are not within their territory.  I usually just tell people that she is too shy, which is followed by my repeating the same thing, over and over again, "Mia, you would have really made XYZ happy if you had said thank you when she told you that she liked your dress." "But Mama, my mouth was busy, I was talking to you." "But Mama, I could not do it because she was already gone!" "But Mama, I did not hear her."  She never fails to identify a "reasonable" cause that has nothing to do with her. 

The Saturday prior to the last, we took Zhuzhu to the Zoo for Kakiko's birthday party.  Kakiko is the daughter of a colleague and 8 months older than Zhuzhu.  These two girls often see each other at swimming pool on Saturday mornings.  Contrasting to Zhuzhu, Kakiko is the kind of girl who greets and plays with everyone at any place (I know, I would have worried about it too, if Zhuzhu was like her!)   She has made Zhuzhu her friend pretty quickly after the first few times they met about two years ago.  I had not expected that Zhuzhu would have freaked out in her frined Kakiko's birthday party.

But she did, as she had done in every other times previously when I took her to her other friends' birthday parties.

When we arrived the Jungle room where the private party was held in the Zoo, every one already sat in a circle listening to the animal stories quietly, watching and touching the lovely a yellow snake.  Zhuzhu who usually loves to pet little animals refused to join the group.  She would not touch the lovely opossum either when the little guy was shown to her later.  Kakiko tried few times to ask her to join the group of kids later in the fun games.  Zhuzhu was frozen the whole time while we were in the Jungle room, hiding behind the Daddy peeking her 2 yo little brother Niuniu running, laughing, and chasing bigger girls' tails.  When I pushed Zhuzhu to join her own age-matched crowd, she said, "But Mama, I don't know how.  I prefer to stay here with you and Daddy."  "Why don't you go and play with me."  She told me that when I asked her to join them again.  I had to give it up.  We stood there and watched together with her, for oh, the whole hour?!  After the birthday cake, we got out and started a 20-minute guided safari, she then began to believe that those 5 year olds would not eat her alive.  She showed slight willingness to interact but remained to be distant from everyone.  Just when I was about to give up everything and ready to take her home, she suddenly discovered that she knew who the Kakiko was and proceeded quickly to hold Kakiko's hand as soon as other kids waved bye-bye to Kakiko.  The two of them made up and had a lot of fun riding the Wild Animal Carousel and jumping, running, and chasing each other like crazy on the Jungle Gym together.

Did Zhuzhu not like to be treated as a number?  Did she simply demand the full attention of Kakiko?  Or she was just simply too shy?

It took almost two hours for Zhuzhu to warm up and she waited until everyone else left the scene.

On the contrary, her little brother Niuniu has always blended right into all sorts of funs without fear.  He does not waste a single minute to have fun and he does not even mind everyone else in any type of groups is older or younger than him.  

Have you ever wondered from where your little ones get their characters?  Zhuzhu and Niuniu should possess almost identical genetic makeups - they are practically twins, except that Niuniu had been kept frozen when he was a two-cell embryo for two years before being broght to life

From my "twin" brother and sister, I feel hard to believe anybody's personality is formed through parents' or environmental/educational influences.  Kids are born with their own distinctive traits. Believe me, we cannot and should not take too many credits nor blames for what our little ones dos and donts.

Relax, parents!

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