Since late last year or the beginning of 2014, I started “long-talk” nights with the kids, where I would spend 15 to 30 minutes with each of them 2 nights a week, lying beside them on their beds and chatting with them. The kids enjoy the long-talks, and I am happy to indulge them, for I learn more about them through their sharing.
Ever since August 2014, however, I had to cut back on the long-talks because of my studies. The kids were disappointed at first, but they understood and now cherish the remaining 1 night a week long-talk. It is not so apparent for Megan, as she is still young. But Matthew holds my promise of long-talk very seriously, and will look forward to it eagerly. As he is into questioning now, we will spend a little time sharing about his questions almost nightly, leaving the heavy-duty stuff to the long-talk nights.
During one of our treasured and hugely enjoyable long talks recently, I asked Matthew who his favourite grandparent is. To my surprise, he replied as follows:
That is a very tough decision. I like YeYe because he lets us play ipad all day. I like NaiNai because she is good at making things (craft). I like GongGong because he cooks (for us) and lets us watch television even though he wants to watch television himself. I like PoPo because she helps me with all my homework. And PoPo is fair – if I do homework, Megan has to do homework too. And her homework is equally thick, as mine.
I was surprised that Matthew is so diplomatic. Instead of choosing a favourite grandparent, he decided to be fair and list the things he likes about his grandparents. And I am very happy of the outcome too. He is so fortunate to still have all 4 of his grandparents around, and he knows it too, opting not to choose a favourite. A tough decision it is. It also reveals how much emphasis he places on fairness …
Glossary: Spellings in Hanyu Pinyi, pronunciation in the Cantonese dialect and with the most similar pronunciation in English, in parentheses. (Complicated, huh?)
YeYe (Yay Yay) – Paternal grandfather
NaiNai (Ni Ni, as in Nine) – Paternal grandmother
GongGong (N.A) – Maternal grandfather
PoPo (Pour Pour) – Maternal grandmother