Reality Bites: Learning from My 16-Month Old Daughter

At 31, I thought I already know so much about life, about parenting, about motherhood; but I was wrong.

I had a meaningful chat with my boss, a.k.a. my daughter’s godfather. The convo started with how I believe in angels, and ended with: you can learn a lot more from your child than she learning from you.

It struck me. To the point where I am in the train now, writing this.
He is right. I have not thought about this until today.

Here’s a proof that I am an adult, I am supposed to know more than my child, but I realized that knowing more doesn’t mean people will learn from you because you are more knowledgeable. My kid who only knows 15 words by now yet teaches me life’s great lessons.

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Me: I know what is right, I know what is wrong. Sometimes, I still do the wrong.

I am starting with a sad truth here. My child is only 16 months old; she cannot distinguish right from wrong in an instant. Most of the time, she is just being a kid. If I feed her with vegetables and spits it out, it doesn’t mean she wants to take revenge, or she wants to hurt me, or she wants to be stubborn. Truth is, it may mean that her tummy is still full, and there’s nothing wrong with it. She is just being a kid, and it is normal to be experiencing this phase.

Unlike me, who is an adult, who should be acting like an adult, has this mentality – If this life gives me the opportunity to choose between righteousness which comes with a lot of difficulties, and wickedness which comes with convenience, I won’t lie, sometimes I choose the latter.

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Me: My love is conditional.

How many times have I done something because I am getting a reward from it? How many times have I talked to someone and see an advantage of talking to him/her?

In my child’s innocence every single time I stare at her, I can see through her eyes that she loves me, without any conditions. I never see that the reason why she loves me is because I feed her, or I buy her toys. I just know, without stating reasons, that she loves me.

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Me: I have a family, friends, a job, but I am never satisfied. I always want more.

I may not be very guilty of this. But I know a lot of adults are. This life, the life we live each and everyday makes us want to have more and more. People tend to never be content with a simple life, we always strive to have everything. We want to travel, we want wealth, we want the so-called good life. But children, as shallow as giving them a teddy bear, means the world to them, it means so much that parents receive kisses and hugs because of a $5 teddy bear.

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M: I can forgive, but I will never forget.

Why is it so difficult for adults to forgive? Let me re-phrase that. Why is it so difficult for adults to forget? We always say we have forgiven someone who has done us wrong, but we always back it up with, “but I can never forget what she has done”. It’s not easy to forget, let’s be real here. To me, the appropriate word would be – acceptance. It is to accept that the person you love most hurt you. Acceptance on a diffucult situation will make it a lot easier for us to move on and continue with our lives.

Unlike kids, they forget in an instant. They do not hold grudges and easily moves on after scolding them.

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Me: I am always conscious of what other people may think.

My daughter wakes up with her hair all messed up every single morning, but she doesn’t care.

I do things but why do I always think if the society approves it? How sad could that be?

Me to myself: My daughter is learning a lot from me, I am going to brag and tell the world about it

Me to Antonia: I am learning a lot from you, but you have no idea how much you’ve changed my perspective.

But if there is one thing we have in common, one thing that I can assure my daughter is this:

Antonia: I say I love you because you taught me those beautiful words.

Me: I say I love you because I really do.

To my dear Antonia, I will always be blessed to be your student. You are my best teacher, my darl. Thank you for indirectly teaching me that life is just so beautiful, that if I look through your thinking and actions, I can have more learning and realization.

I love you, and thank you for giving me the opportunity to learn, when the earth offers a lot of distraction. Thank you for making me realize to go back to the basic to see that life is just so meaningful, if only I can see the simplest but most significant things.

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