I love you more また会う日まで

DSC05662 This little guy is the one whom I spent more time than anyone else other than my husband in Montreal. I feel like it’s just like yesterday when we met for the first time. We never knew that we would end up saying bye bye in the Netherlands. He was only 3 months old back then. He was a lot tinier and seemed so fragile. Of course he couldn’t walk and say any words at all. I didn’t even know how I should hold a baby. I didn’t even know how to change a diaper. And when he started crying? I absolutely had no idea why he was upset. The job contract was for 2 years and the end of it sounded just so far away.

A lot of my friends asked me what I would do with this little boy. I guess they thought there’s nothing I could do while this baby had no clue what I was talking about and physically incapable of moving. I thought a bit and my answer was pretty simple. I decided to be his narrator. Babies have no means to express their emotion. They probably don’t even recognize their emotion. I believe maybe it’s more like sensation. If they feel comfortable, they smile. If they don’t, they just simply cry. Anything we did, saw, felt, heard, smelled, and tasted, I narrated everything for him. I sang lots of songs and read him a lot of books too. He probably had no idea what I was talking about but I just kept talking to him, believing that one day, he will pick up some words and would start guessing what those words would mean.

His first smile, rolling over, steps, words etc, there were tremendous things I ever encountered for the first time in my life. I was pretty touched by his every sign of his development so I guess I would cry if that’s my own kid. And then one day, it happened. He started copying what I said. That was the moment I was waiting for.

My parents were always authoritarian. Whenever I did something bad, I was always put in a dark room and they never let me out unless I said “sorry”. I said sorry so I could get out. When they said “no”, there wasn’t much explanation. no meant no. I understand that that’s how they were protecting me from anything dangerous but I just can’t agree with their parenting style. All I remember is fear.

That’s why I went completely opposite. Since he started copying me, I rather spoke slowly and as long as whatever he was trying to to do was harmless, I let him try. Especially after he started walking, his exploration began. He took out stuff from kitchen drawers, took his freshly cleaned cloths out of the laundry basket while I was folding them, tried to touch the heater in winter etc. I repeatedly told him, “you know what I would do? I would put those utensils back in the drawer after I use” showing him how. Of course, when he copied me, I praised him so much. eventually he started putting them back as he finished using them. I repeatedly said “can you pick one of your cloths from the basket? I need one to fold”. Again, I praised him so much as he did so. Eventually he started helping me out with folding cloth without telling him (BTW, eventually we came up with this matching game. I had him pick up the pair of socks. great way to learn different colors and patterns!) I repeatedly said “Oh the heater is hot! better not to touch if you don’t wanna get ouchy!”. He touched it a couple of times showing his face “oh-oh, it’s really hot” to me and eventually he stopped touching it.

I noticed kids can go crazy, yet they still love the ideas of following rules. They love to do what we do. It’s just that we need to be patient and observe them. Just like we the grown ups learn from our own experience, they also learn from their experiences. That’s how they learn their world. And I was truly underestimating his capability of comprehension. Little ones can understand what we tell them a lot more than we imagine. DSC05043 We had so much fun together. I enjoyed letting him explore his world and seeing his development. I feel very lucky to be a part of it. And this is why I love to work with kids.

Now he’s one proud preschool student.

To be honest, I wasn’t sure where my career would head to. The field of education is pretty broad. It could be at preschool, day care, elementary school, middle school, or higher education. But this baby taught me how much I love working with kids. I don’t know how many years would take to get a position like the one that I had at the international school in Japan, but I will try to get there someday.

Baby, you always told me you love me. I love you too. You have no idea how much I love you.

Thank you for the great 2 years. I will miss the time we spent together. See you when I come visit here again with my husband! DSC05764

*******************************************************************

この子とはきっとモントリオールで知り合ったなかで誰よりも一番一緒に時間を過ごしたんだ思といます。一番最初に会ったのは、2年前。まだ3か月でほんとに小さかった。もちろん抱き方だってわからない。経験のある分野は3歳から5歳。2歳の私立のプリスクールに入るまで、面倒見ながら英語を教えるという、この2年のコントラクト。どうしようかと最初は迷いました。先が長く思えたなー。

友達にも聞かれました。英語を教えるって、まだ赤ちゃんなのに。私も、考えてみました。ただ面倒見るんじゃなくて、どうやったらこの子の成長を助けられるか。で、出た答えはとっても単純でした。ただ、この子のナレーターになってあげようと。赤ちゃんは、自分が今感じている、気持ちとか感覚とか、言葉にすることができないから、すべて私がそれを言ってあげようって。匂いとか、気温とか、味とか、とにかく彼が見ているであろう世界をできるだけ私が言葉にしていました。本も読んで、歌もたくさん歌って。

1番最初の言葉が出てくるまでの間(だいたい12か月くらいまで)に寝返りとか、つかまり立ちとか、最初の一歩とか、子どもの発達を目の前で見る子ができて、すごく感動しました。きっと自分の子どもだったら泣いちゃうんだろうな。そして、歩き始めたころ、私の楽しみにしていた瞬間がやってきました。私の行っていることを声に出して真似をしようとし始めたのです。

私の幼少期の話になってしまいますが、私の両親はとても厳しく私を育てました。何か悪いことをしたら、言うことをきかなかったら、待っていたのは「お仕置牢」というなの暗い部屋。そこへ入れられて、ごめんなさいっていうまで出してくれなかった。ごめんなさいって言えば、だしてくれる。そう思っていました。叱られて、覚えているのは恐怖だけ。きっと、危ないもの、ことから私を守るために「しつけ」としてそうしていたのかもしれませんが、私の思う「しつけ」はそうじゃないと思う。恐怖を与えてその場では「ごめんなさい」って言わせるのは、「しつけ」でもなんでもないと思う。

なので、私の言葉を真似しようとしているなと確認できた日から私はひたすらゆっくり話すように心がけました。そして忍耐。とにかく私がやっていることをやろうとしていたら、危なくない限りはやらせてみました。洗濯物をたたんでいるときに、洗濯かごから服を取り出し始めたら、「手伝ってくれるの?じゃあひとつ頂戴ね。たたんであげるから」って。引出の中のもの全部出したら、「これ使い終わったらどうするか知ってる?こうやって戻して、引出しめるんだよー」ってもう何十回やったことか。でも、言い聞かしているうちに、そのうち何も言わなくても自分でやるようになってました。きっと、私たち大人も、経験から学ぶように、赤ちゃんだって大人の真似して学ぼうとしてるのですよね。

やっぱり2歳くらいになると、自我が芽生えてぐずることも多くなったけれども、彼の「要求」っていうのを見て取れるのが嬉しかったりもしました。あぁ大きくなってるんだって。

私は教育の分野でいつも仕事をしてきましたが、教育って一言で言っても色々な仕事があるし、正直将来的に教育の分野のどういうことをしていきたいっていう細かいビジョンはまったくなくて、ちょっと行き詰っていました。でも、彼と時間を過ごしていくうちに(日本語学校でも3歳児の担任をし始めたっていうのもあったあらかおしれませんが)、私はやっぱり子供に囲まれた環境で仕事がしたいんだって気づきました。何年かかるかわからないけど、日本で働いていたインターでの仕事みたいなポジションをいつかまた見つけたいな。

この子にはほんとにいろんなことを教えてもらいました。まさかオランダの地でサヨナラを言うことになるなんて。ほんとに人生何があるかわからない。最後、家を出るときに、ハグをして、またねって。きっと本人はRukeはまた帰ってくるって思っていたのでしょう。笑っていました。

ステキな2年間をどうもありがとう。一緒に過ごした時間は私の宝物です。

また会う日まで。

Advertisements

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s