En­joy the mo­ment

> Par­ents should spend more qual­ity time with their chil­dren and share happy mo­ments with them be­fore they be­come teenagers

The Sun (Malaysia) - - FAMILY TIES - WITH LY­DIA TEH

AS RE­SEARCH for my next book, I dug up old doc­u­ments and files in my cab­i­nets. I came across pho­tos taken dur­ing a talk to pro­mote my sec­ond book, Life’s Like That.

It was 2004 then, and no. 3 was just seven years old. He min­gled with the crowd of read­ers. At an­other func­tion, he handed out Man­darin or­anges to au­di­ence mem­bers who could an­swer quiz ques­tions.

As I looked at those pho­tos, I was over­whelmed by nos­tal­gia. That sweet, funny boy is all grown up now.

“What hap­pened?” I asked no. 4 who at 15, is thank­fully still sweet, though she has taken to rolling her eyes. “Life hap­pened,” she said. At this point in my life, when my chil­dren are be­tween 15 and 26 years old, I can af­ford to get melan­cholic; I miss their young in­no­cence and child­ish ex­ploits.

When I was young, older women used to ad­vise me to en­joy the kids while they were young, be­cause “be­fore you know it, they’ll be all grown”.

Au­thor and mother of four, Dorothy Evs­lin once said: “It will be gone be­fore you know it. The fin­ger­prints on the wall will ap­pear higher and higher, and then sud­denly they dis­ap­pear.”

If I had read that quo­ta­tion when my kids were clam­ber­ing all over me, I would have re­torted: “Great! Fi­nally, I will get a clean wall.”

Trust me, when you are tak­ing care of four chil­dren be­tween the ages of one and 12, all you wish is for them to grow up quickly!

For me, squeez­ing out time for writ­ing in be­tween pre­par­ing and cook­ing meals, laun­der­ing, chauf­feur­ing the kids to school, help­ing them with their home­work, and get­ting chores done, was ex­haust­ing.

Young par­ents, I do know how you would feel if an older per­son with teens or grown-up chil­dren dishes out plat­i­tudes about en­joy­ing your kids while they’re young.

Yes, you want to scream that it will be a good 10 years for you to ‘en­joy’ the kids who are fight­ing over toys, and about whose turn it is to play on the iPad, who won’t eat their greens, and whose room looks like a twis­ter has rav­aged it.

But don’t. Just smile and ac­cept their words of wis­dom. When your own kids are grown, you will be the one dish­ing out that sage ad­vice to younger par­ents.

In the mean­time, rel­ish your kids’ child­hood. Play with them while they still want to play with you. Talk to them while your voice is mu­sic to their ears. Take them for out­ings while they still crave your com­pany.

There will be bad days when ev­ery­thing seems to go wrong: The toast is burnt, the baby smears poo all over the sofa, the tod­dler falls down the stairs, the boy gets an F in Math, you fight with your spouse, and just when you are about to col­lapse into bed, the elec­tric­ity goes out.

Ac­cept the bad days along with the good. No mat­ter how tough the sit­u­a­tion is, tell your­self that this, too, will come to pass. There is a say­ing: “Breathe. It’s just a bad day, not a bad life.”

Ly­dia Teh is a mother of four and au­thor of nine books, in­clud­ing the lat­est, Cow Sense for Young Peo­ple. Send com­ments to life­style.ly­dia@ the­sundaily.com.

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