Saturday, May 7

Tiger Mother: 6 Years Old

wearing this coat, via weheartit,
I just wanted to give everyone a little update into this project. If you remember from this post, I'm in a developmental psychology class this semester and we're raising virtual children. The following post will be musings about her and my child-rearing philosophies. 

Before I go into the specifics on my project, I'd like to thank Crystal Luvs as well as Susalie for their insightful comments. I agree that the mean things "Chinese Mothers" say aren't meant to be hurtful, but to shame children and to push children. However great their intentions might be though, the American culture made me impervious to traditional shaming. While I do agree with pushing your children to be the best they can be, I think it's also important to realize that every child is motivated in a different way. I hope that I can learn from how my parents raised me and improve when I'm a parent. I'm also going to try my best to teach my children Chinese, no matter what the ethnicity of my husband is. If all goes well, my children will speak/read/write Chinese better than I do! Hopefully I can financially afford to do this. On top of it all, I don't have to practice my English--I might practice my Chinese with these kids.

I ended up naming my daughter Marilyn. I was incredibly surprised when she was born because she's... black. Or really really really dark brown. Darker than myself and any of my family. The program asked me if I wanted to breastfeed. I wasn't sure. I don't know if I was breastfed or if my brother was breastfed. I've heard that it's better for the child, but it has certain cosmetic consequences. Ultimately, I said that I would, but I'd also supplement with formula. Despite completing the assignment in a few nights, I found myself becoming frustrated with her when she cried and becoming pleased when she laughed. One of the things I wondered was how short my patience was... if a silent computer program annoyed me. 


When she was three months old... I realized I had a husband (a bit slow on the uptake... so, where do children come from?). The program told me that my husband and I had a quarrel. I wasn't happy. Somehow, I never considered raising my child with someone. The plan I always had in mind was to send the kid home to my relatives in China. It was the way I was brought up; the way my brother was brought up... and the way I want my child to be brought up. For one of the answers, I choose to get a live-in nanny for Marilyn because in China, where labor is cheaper,  it's normal to have live in caretakers. Somehow, this has always been my plan.


At Marilyn's eight months mark, my husband lost his job. ...What kind of a caretaker and provider can't keep down a job? I found myself angry at my virtual spouse.  I also thought that for some reason, her skin would lighten up after infancy, but it didn't. She spoke her first word a little bit after her first birthday. It was the name of my parent's dog (slightly ironic because I don't think they'd ever have a dog). My husband also got another job; I stopped being angry at him. 


Marilyn was the cutest toddler. The program said that my eighteen year old cousin came to stay with us while she went to school (my real life translation? My cousin from China came over here to stay at an American university). My cousin takes care of Marilyn a bit. My cousin sings, so Marilyn shows a bit of interest in music. This prompts me to ask, "When can I get a tiny violin for my daughter?" Toilet training her was gross... because the program mentioned cleaning up her messes. This reminded me how I skipped looking at, dealing with, and smelling baby diarrhea. Babies can be so gross. 


All was going well until my husband lost his job again. Can I call him a deadbeat yet? Why am I the only one taking care of our daughter and working? I become an angry, angry mother. And I wanted a divorce. ...A virtual divorce. One where we virtually split the assets. The finances were so bad that we moved to a different part of town. Then some surprising news come up when Marilyn's two and a half. ...


I got pregnant. ... I remember looking at that message in disbelief. I've had time for intercourse with my deadbeat husband while I work and take care of the children and he does nothing? Abortion was not an option in the program. Unfortunately. I don't think I'd ever really want to have children that close in age. 

So, my husband (probably due to my nagging) decides to go back to school. Just to clarify, I'm paying the bills. And I just want to reiterate, I'm pregnant during this.  He graduates six months later and gets a higher paying job. I'm still trying to be a very involved parent--constantly interacting with Marilyn and trying to teach her. I'm constantly having arguments with my husband. Divorce? I want to take my daughter and get away from that unneeded stress. 


Then, I give birth to Marilyn's little sister. Is it just me being traditional? I wanted a boy. 


I notice that Marilyn is watching a lot of educational television--something my mother never allowed me. She's probably going to end up with glasses.


Right before four years old, Marilyn's evaluation puts her at average for many things like language skills and gross motor skills but above in quantitative reasoning (yes!). I'm rated as slightly above average in discipline. I take this as a badge of honor. A year later, she's still rated as average in the majority of subjects but she's advanced in math. Hopefully, good things will come in the future.

18 comments:

  1. This sounds like the funnest course ever. I took Developmental Psych too and it was nowhere near this interactive.

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  2. Wow - that sounds like quite the program! There are so many details and intricacies - does it stop when she turns 18?

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  3. What an interesting project! Yes as SPG mentions, how long does the project go on for?

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  4. I’m drawn to your development psychology project and read everything about your virtual baby with deep interest. Amy Chua had recently caused a buzz over here too. I’m from Singapore btw. Most of us Chinese Singaporeans were raised the Chinese way too and I think it has shaped us really well. For me personally, I would try to combine both the western andn asian discipline. I will defnitely use reason and logic and of coz harsh beating if really necessary.

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  5. Haha, oh man, I eagerly await the day you're actually raising a child.

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  6. that is an interesting project! Yea I do believe kids are motivated in different ways for sure, I was all about negative reinforcement since good enough was good enough for me while my sister was more positive reinforcement lol

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  7. Nice post!! :) Interesting, and thank you for the comment xx

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  8. Essence is quite a famous brand all over Europe. It is comparable to Elf, regarding the price/quality question! :)
    This is indeed a very interesting project. I wonder how I would do at something like this. Raising children is not an easy task. It's funny how we sometimes devaluate our mom's efforts. When we have our own kids, and after going through something so important as this, is when we realize how noble their efforts were. I don't think we will fully understand it, until we have gone through this experience. There is so much at stake that we can't even dare to fail. In our hands, we will carry our kid's lives.
    I sometimes find myself thinking about the way I would do it, the things that I want my kids to learn and experience, even the kind of mom that I want to be. Therefore, I think I would really enjoy a project like this! :)

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  9. Hello, first time visiting your blog ;) However I was very intrigued by your project, it's very very interesting. I also read about the famous Tiger Mother, but recently in Time magazine they published an article about education in Finland and how without completely different techniques they reached the first place education-wise.
    Oh and about breastfeeding, in my country there was a big campaign for it, seeing that the milk provides the child with nutrients and vitamins increasing immunity, as well as a lot of other benefits both for the mother and child.

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  10. Woah, what an interesting post! The course sounds so interesting. Thanks for sharing your results / thoughts!

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  11. I love psychology courses. I took two during my undergrad and LOVED both of them. I considered going into psych as a major, but I really didn't want to listen to other people's problems or anything. I totally adore the field, though. It's so interesting.

    http://www.glamkittenslitterbox.com/
    Twitter: @GlamKitten88

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  12. Great project! Actually, I also study psychology.

    http://theeyesofmara.blogspot.com/

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  13. MayClover - Welcome.

    Jessi, Renee - It was!

    Titine and totoche - I'll keep in mind your tidbit about breast feeding!

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  14. oh my god, that's fabulous. I have quickly learned I love reading what you have to say, it's quirky and I can hear your distinct personality through it all... I'm following now :) also, holy crap, that baby girl is probably the cutest thing ever. I don't know much about my impending offspring, but they are going to certainly provide me with years of dress-up fun.

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  15. Ahahah, this was really fascinating to read! I would really love to take this course. But I don't understand.. if things weren't going so well with your deadbeat husband who can't hold a job or help support his family and you're so busy taking care of little Marilyn, why on earth would you have intercourse and have another baby? I suppose it's realistic in a way though, since a lot of people get pregnant when they least expect it..

    LOL I love the picture of "Marilyn" in the same gorilla coat as her mother!

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  16. What an interesting assignment! You were really thorough in presenting your honest thoughts and feelings! I bet this has given you a lot of insight to how you will raise your children in the future. I have no doubt you'll raise successful, well-rounded children. :) Thanks for your comment on my blog. It has led me to your blog, and I enjoy both the fashion and the writing that you do here!

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Thanks for your comments!