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The joys of parenting

Anna Barsanti August 19, 2013 Anna Barsanti No Comments


In an earlier email I spoke about finances and teaching Leila about saving. One of her piggy banks is hers for her discretionary income, yet I must admit I attempted on a number of occasions to deter her from spending her money. My money issues get in the way, so Wednesday I decided to keep myself in check and let her decide. No easy feat for me, I know. She loves to play on the DS, and she wanted a new game with her money. Her fascination for Legos has translated into games where the characters look like Lego. She chose Lord of the Rings and this would be where I came up short. I was so bent on keeping myself in check I missed a critical component. Usually, I am quite vigilant at looking at age appropriate toys and games, not so much here. When we got home she put her game in the DS and when she successfully got to the next level, there were tears. Ask me if I didn’t feel like a heel. Now I look at the age. Naturally, this isn’t going to work, so I acquiesce for another game. (Just an aside, the next morning she found where I put the game and promptly told me she wasn’t scared anymore.)


Hence, the replacement game would only come to pass if she continued on her path of being a listening girl. This week we aimed for four days. Leila is what I fondly call a dawdler a technique she so graciously picked up from me, except when she dawdles it isn’t convenient for – you guessed it – me. Interesting how that works. We had another busy week, art camp, soccer coming to a close, errands, registering for hockey, appointments, and I purchased a group on for Sears Portrait Studio. Yes, folks the 5,000 photos I already have to chronicle Leila’s life just aren’t enough. Well, Leila is one remarkable child, I know every parent/guardian says that about their children and you know what – that is the way it should be because every kid is remarkable.


So what is the point to all this, what is the parenting answer? A couple came to light this week – it has been confirmed by onlookers there is a strong possibility Leila has turned into a mini-me in the talking to anyone who crosses our path. Her confidence level as an individual to engage in conversation continues to flourish. Now I just sit back and watch her in action. Most of the time I am laughing at the genius in front of me – she uses story humour to engage people and encourage them to continue the conversation; she has a memory for detail related to her life events that bring truism to her exchanges, which furthers the authenticity of character; and mostly I love her complete innocence and pure honesty. Leila simply loves people and isn’t afraid to let them know they count. The young photographer at Sears was enamoured by her and her antics. Leila is simply pure joy.


The more thought-provoking observation is related to the reward system. Yes, I do utilize the tangible “if you do this, you will get this” methodology. Each time I do, there is little tinge of am I doing the right thing; am I doing this because it is convenient and the fastest way to an end we can both live with at that precise moment? So here is the revelation that helped me to see Leila gets both internal and external reward. When we leave Costco Leila consistently asks whoever takes the receipt to make a happy face. There was a new young fellow at the door and he told Leila he would be glad to but the happy face might not be that great as he doesn’t draw well. By the time Leila was through with him I am sure he thought he was a Rembrandt. As we are heading to the car, I told her she was very nice to compliment the young man and do you know what she said to me? “I bet his heart is fluttering really fast now.” WOW!! She gets the value of a compliment and how saying something nice to someone can make a person feel good.


Yes, the child who lives with me is wise.




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About The Author

Anna Barsanti is a retired educator who is sharing the experiences of raising her niece.