Five things I learned from my 6-year-old son

By Yan Erfei ( China Daily ) Updated: 2008-07-08 11:17:52

Two weeks ago, my 6-year-old son left for a month long vacation tour at a seaside resort. Despite my worries about his well-being, I was initially quite relieved. I imagined that the month ahead would provide a golden opportunity to enjoy all the things I had not been able to recently savor. However, half way through the month, I have found myself to be the most bored woman in the world.

Here are some of things I had expected to indulge in:

Plan A: sleep. Since I gave birth, I have not been able to enjoy a full night's rest for over six years. The situation has recently improved as my son has been learning to sleep in his own bed. Yet, no matter how late he goes to bed, he always wakes up at the same early hour. Like a dutiful rooster, he calls out: "Mummy!" If I pretend to be asleep, he will continue: "Wake up mummy! Don't be a lazy girl!"

Now, even without my little rooster, I still wake up early and try as I may, I just can't sleep in another hour. Thanks to my son, I have gotten into a regular routine, which actually benefits everyone.

Plan B: working out. I used to be an avid yoga fan, yet my boy is particularly fascinated by the swimming pool. I've been swimming more lately, as he must keep me in sight while he paddles in the children's pool.

Now I can finally make full use of my VIP card at the gym. Strangely, though, I now find yoga and other exercise classes too crowded and demanding. Swimming seems the most relaxing sport to me now, thanks to my son.

Plan C: shopping. My son has proven himself to be a merciless guard against my old habit of impulse spending. When we're out on shopping excursions to select toys, he will rush his poor mother past the stores selling handbags and other fineries.

Finally, I have the time to pause and look at clothes, shoes, bags, cosmetics, books, electric appliances, furniture and myriad other items that draw my attention. Yet, now I think more about other things, including my empty wallet and mounting credit cards bills.

Dear son, I finally understand why you've tried to prevent mum from squandering money on things that are of little use.

Plan D: watching TV. Even with two TVs in the household, the three of us often vie for the remote controls. My husband and I have ruled that our son should watch cartoons for less than half an hour each day. Likewise, he demanded that we should also ration our TV time.

When my colleagues engage in heated discussions about the latest TV dramas, I stay silent. Now I can at last flip through all the channels unimpeded. But why, I wonder, are there no interesting programs on TV? Good boy, I'll allow you to watch your cartoons, until you are also tired of them.

Plan E: meeting friends. How sorely I had missed the opportunity to laugh with my close friends at karaoke spots and beauty parlors. However, a few such outings recently have left me tired. After all, these recreations aren't much distraction from someone I really hold dear to my heart.

Son, will you get tired of the sea and come home earlier?

(China Daily 07/08/2008 page20)

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