A few weeks ago I read an article in a baby magazine, which really got to me. It was about how kids learn by watching their parents. There were different examples of amazing kids who could do loads of things at just 1-2 years old. The story that really stuck with me was about the son of two architects. They worked at home, so this little boy spent most of his life watching his parents draw. He started copying them, and at 18 months or so he could draw straight lines, at 2 years he could trace the outline of any shape he was given. I was amazed by this, and shocked at how much kids learn by watching and copying their parents. Then I started thinking about Liva and Laia. I also work from home, they see me working loads during the day. But what do they see? Their mom sitting in front of the computer.... Is that really setting a good example? I also teach, which means I dress professionally and leave the house. When Liva and Laia were about 1 year old, Laia used to put their toy mobile in her little handbag, wave goodbye and "leave" - just like I do to go to work.
The first few weeks after reading the article, I was worried. Besides pretending to leave the house with their mobile, what were Liva and Laia learning from me working from home? Will they want to sit in front of a computer all the time when they are older? How can we teach them that a computer is not a place to spend hours and hours when they're older, when they see their mom doing exactly that every day?
But then I looked at it from a different angle. They don't see me in front of the computer for hours and hours, since I can't work with them around. I work when they're asleep or out with the babysitter. What they do see, is their mom getting dressed, their mom doing things around the house, their mom talking to other people on the street, their mom being gentle with Tatanka, and their mom playing with them every day and giving them a lot of love.
Laia can almost dress herself, both girls love helping with anything around the house, they answer when people on the street say hello or goodbye, they are extremely gentle with Tatanka, dogs we meet on the street - very often the owners comment on how good they are with the dog, that other little kids are not that gentle - with small babies and with each other, they play really well with each other, and they are very loving girls who give hugs and kisses to all the people they know and love. So no, I'm not a bad example to my children. I am proud of the little people they are, and how they treat each other and other people. I try to always set a good example in every situation of every day. Of course that doesn't always work, there are people I just don't like or who simply annoy me, Liva and Laia notice this as well, and refuse to say hi or bye to these people. Our neighbour is a sick old man - and I mean mentally sick! - who I can't stand! Liva and Laia cry every time they see him. There's an old woman who always comments on how unbelievably alike Liva and Laia are, yet always asks whether it's a boy and a girl. I am sick of her, Liva and Laia look the other way when she talks to them.
So yes, children do learn from their parents, both the good and the bad. Liva and Laia might not be able to draw a straight line or trace shapes, but they can do so many other things and, most importantly, they know how to interact with other people which I personally believe is a very important ability!