Oh the questions of a 4 year old!

I didn't think the Starbright, Meditations for Children book Elvira brought us today would cause quite so much difficult conversation with my 4 year old. When I pictured parenting a preschooler I expected to have to field questions about things like why the sky is blue (It's got something to do with, ah, reflection or refraction - lets look it up!) and where babies come from (they come from a mummies tummy! - How do they get in there? - Ah, well, ah, when a mummy and a daddy love each other very much and want to make a baby they, ah, well you've seen little plants grow from seeds? Well babies kind of grow from special seeds. Kind of) but Asher still surprises me. Not just difficult but doable questions like 'What is shift work' 'What is the government' and yesterday, driving through the rural fringes of Sydney, 'Is that a Tapir?' (it was a remarkably tapir shaped cow, for any punters out there who might be wondering) but tonight I needed to try and explain magic, guardian angels and what his imagination is!  

I always try to answer Asher's questions simply and honestly, with appropriate depth and detail (I find the key is to answer the question he's really asking, without getting into details unless he asks further) because I feel that is the respectful way to address the genuine questions of a smart kid. And it appears that it's not just his parents and immediate family who think he's a bright kid. We spend a lot of time with some pretty exceptional preschoolers, so Asher seems bright and inquiring but relatively normal for his age but Asher's childcare teacher has noticed his facility with language and his literacy and numeracy skills and has suggested we get him assessed. We are somewhat ambivalent about this and cagey about having a preschooler labelled as 'gifted and talented' (or whatever) but it seems the benefits might outweigh our niggling reservations - we aren't overly happy with how things are at childcare and feel this might be the key to changing things for the better. We are going to ask what they are planning to do with the information with respect to looking after his 'special needs' with the follow-up question being why they aren't currently providing him with a more thought-out program.

So for now, send us sympathy. We need to try to answer all this smart little kid's difficult questions and give him with enough food for thought without overwhelming him. We want to provide for his thirst for knowledge without burying him under our expectations. Really, in the end, we just want the kid to be happy.


Kiran's Mundan: After

It was a good day. The ceremony, inside because of the threat of rain, went well - there were three pundits, fruit, chanting, fire, no shoes and Asher running around taking photos. The ceremony took a little over an hour and Kiz stayed pretty quiet throughout. I bribed him by shoving raisins in his mouth.

After the ceremony we shaved the little guy's head. My 'aunty' Margaret did the shave and Kiz stayed still and quiet. After the shave there was food and drink and lots of exhausting socialising. People were lovely and complimented me on my outfit (I gave credit to Tim and Jen who sent it from Singapore every time) and asked me if we were thinking of having more kids (it's unlikely we'll have more).

Now it's all over and I'm so tired I'm quivering. Kiz is asleep, Asher is staying out at Turramurra with his grandparents and I've finished the piece of toast I had for dinner. I'm going to leave the mess and slink off to bed as soon as I've finished my herbal tea.


Kiran's Mundan: Before

My baby is losing his hair tomorrow, and he'll no longer be a baby when it's gone. Tomorrow is Kiran's mundan where I (symbolically) lose a baby and gain a toddler. Considering he's almost certainly my last baby that's *it* for me in terms of parenting babies. Unsurprisingly I'm feeling a bit maudlin and nostalgic-in-advance (there's probably a word for that) about the next step in our journey as a family. I'm going to miss my baby and I'm going to miss the special joys of being a mother to a baby.

Tomorrow morning there will be a ceremony with the Pundit at my inlaws place. There will be a hundred or two guests. There will be lunch. Then there will be our little Kiran as a child, not a baby anymore. The next step is a tough one for me because I've always always found toddlers tough going - the neediness, the stickyness, the looniness - and it was only as I parented Asher that I realised that they also have their good points. They are hilarious, loving and watching them learn is better than watching TV because there is *always* something going on.

And so, family life moves on to the next stage. I'll put an update here or perhaps I'll only manage to put pictures up on Flickr.