Got Problems?

Sempi (my 6yo son) and I have this tradition of sharing our problems and asking each other's opinion on how to solve it. We do this while we walk to his school. We've been doing this since he was 3. Here's an example from Portland.

Me: When I bike to work, I have to wait a long time for the elevator.

Sempi (3yo): You should just build a ramp to your 28th floor, so you can just bike all the way up.

Me: Alrighty then.

Back to present day, I was discussing a problem with him about my work.

Me: I have this big presentation coming up and I'm nervous.

Sempi: Why?

Me: There's going to be VPs and an Executive attending this presentation. So I'm anxious about it.

(Sempi thinks for a while)

Sempi: There is a fire pole at the playground and I get nervous about going down that pole. What helps me is, I don't think about it, I just do it. So you should do the same. Don't think about it, just do it.

Me: Whoa! You know that's actually pretty good advice.

I'm happy to report that I took his advice and I kicked butt.

Relatives

Some nights I read a book about Gandhi to Sempi for bedtime. There is an incident in Gandhi's life when he's thrown out of a first-class coach in South Africa because he is not white. I told Sempi that it was an injustice and it doesn't happen anymore.  He listened intently and nodded approvingly. The next night I'm reading a comic about superheros and he asks me, "How come everyone in Justice League is white?".

I stuttered to come up with an answer at that moment, cursing myself for introducing him to the concept of race.

Since then he's asked me to read the Gandhi book many times and we talk about the struggles, non-violence and civil disobedience.

Recently, his elementary school teacher did a fantastic job of introducing the struggles of Martin Luther King Jr. He was excited to learn about MLK and how he learned some of the techniques from Gandhi and Thoreau. So naturally, we bought a new bedtime book about MLK.

One night we had this exchange.

Sempi: Appa, how did the first person came into existence.

Me: (I was gearing up to talk about evolution, Adam and Genesis).

Sempi: Appa, if there was a single person in the beginning, then we all came from that person.

Me: (excitedly) That's true. Everyone in the world is related. You're probably related to Ms. Cochran (his elementary shcool teacher).

Sempi: (giggles) Hehe. It also means that Martin Luther King could be my relative. Hehe.

Me: Absolutely!! You know MLK and Gandhi were probably your great great grandfathers.


That's my son. :D

Manners my boy, manners

This happened a few weeks ago. The kids are having a funtime playing with their mom. I enter the room, which usually sets off the anxiety for Vian.

Vian: I don't need you, appa.

Yoshi: That's not very nice.

Vian: Go away, appa.

Yoshi: Can you say something nice to appa?

Vian: Appa, can you pleeease go away?

Me: Thank you! That's much better. 


What do you say?

One of the ways we trained Sempi to say "Please" and "Thank you" is by asking him "What do you say?" after he receives a favor from someone. With that context in mind, this conversation happened in the car. 

Vian: Can I have that monster truck, Sempi?

Sempi: Here you go. 

Vian takes the truck. Sempi being the responsible older brother wants to teach Vian good manners. 

Sempi: What do you say, Vian? 

Vian: Vrooom, Vrooom.

Sempi just shakes his head and mumbles something that vaguely sounds like "Kids these days". 


My Cup Runneth Over

Vian is having lunch. I'm still making a plate for myself. He requests some water, so brought him a cup of water.

Vian: Appa, this is too watery. 

Me: I'm glad to hear that Vian. The water is supposed to be watery. 

Vian: No appa, I can't drink it.

Me: Why not?

Vian: Because it is too watery. 

I walked over to him to check it out. He was complaining because I filled the water to the brim and he couldn't drink out of it.

Me: I'm sorry Vian, I will fill it appropriately next time. 

Vian: Yeah appa, next time don't make it too watery.