This year, what "unexpected" growth have you witnessed in your child? Regarding your child, are there any "shortcomings" you want to compensate for?

At the beginning of the year, on the labor bus departing from Guizhou to Zhejiang, I sat next to Wang Yubao. The day before departure was the 13th birthday of Wang’s eldest son, and they shared a cake. It was also a farewell cake. Wang hoped his son would study hard and “not live a life of constant wandering” like him. I also met a mother who was once a left-behind child. She was concerned about whether her employer would allow her to bring her child to work because she “didn’t want her child to become a left-behind child” again. On the journey of working hard for a living, facing children who are constantly growing up, parents experience both joy and a sense of indebtedness. In this year, what “unexpected” growth have you witnessed in your child? And what “indebtedness” compelled by circumstances do you want to make up for?

Childhood growth always happens inadvertently.

As a father with a parental lens, I am delighted to see every little aspect of my child’s growth.

My daughter, who is now 8 years old and in the third grade, has been accompanying me on my journey of writing on Zhihu for a full year.

Zhihu Partner

At home, my little cotton-padded jacket serves as the official model for my Zhihu content. Whether it’s writing articles or promoting products, she is the best model.

Here’s a snippet of her 2023 advertisement work. There may not be many, but it has helped cover the expenses for her toys this year. Beyond being an advertisement, it’s also a record of her growth from her old man’s perspective.

Apart from her appearances, she has made significant direct contributions. Her essays, her comedic skits, impromptu speeches, and little recitations—my daughter has been directly involved in providing content.

How do you handle a situation when a mother loses her temper, slaps her child multiple times, and screams while flipping over a fan during homework assistance? What is the experience of helping a child with their homework?

For this piece, my fellow Zhihu users suggested that I should reward my daughter with the silver I received. I agreed to pay her five times the amount, and I ended up paying a one-time total of 750+. This is the most salt I’ve ever earned in a single instance. It seems that when it comes to Zhihu, my daughter may have more potential than me.

Honestly, are electric cars really as good as they’re made out to be?

This interview was mostly conducted by my daughter as well. With this Zhihu partnership, it seems like I no longer have to worry about not being able to write on my own; as long as she’s around. ^_^

Emotional Growth

How can we educate our children to develop good personalities?

As my daughter grows up, she remains as cheerful and outgoing as she was in her childhood. However, she still exhibits immaturity, especially when compared to her classmates' maturity and responsibility. In our eyes, she’s still a child.

However, occasionally, a sentence or two from her makes me feel that she is gradually becoming a little adult.

The other night, my daughter had a conversation with me:

I asked, “Why?”

She replied, “If you get mad, and we both get angry, who’s going to comfort us?”

The logic was impeccable, and I couldn’t argue with it…

Reading Growth

In the past year, my daughter’s progress in reading has been remarkable. Both her reading speed and the number of books she reads have increased significantly.

This year, my daughter has read the complete set of “Harry Potter,” the complete set of “Monsters in the Forbidden City,” the junior version of “Journey to the West,” two books of “Rich Dad Poor Dad,” a dozen or so books of similar length to “Pippi Longstocking,” and it’s hard to estimate how many of Grimm and Andersen’s tales she’s read. She started “Water Margin” and “Les Misérables” but put them down halfway. She finished the children’s version of “Three Kingdoms” and is now onto “Mark Twain’s Short Stories,” along with a series of illustrated history books…

Quantity isn’t the most important thing; what’s important is that my daughter has come to appreciate the joy of reading. During breaks from homework, she always has a book in her hands. Seeing her read so earnestly is truly moving and gratifying.

Debt

I wouldn’t say it’s a significant debt, but because I care for my daughter so much, I’ve been a bit lenient with her.

I haven’t been strict enough in establishing good study habits.

Honestly, she has quite a bit of homework, and it’s normal for her to feel tired. At that time, I couldn’t bear to push her too hard. (灬ꈍ ꈍ灬)

My current plan is to work on her handwriting during the winter break and cultivate a habit of concentration. Whether it succeeds or not, at least there’s a plan in place. If we don’t plan to practice, it’s even less likely to happen.

In reality, a child’s growth encompasses much more than what’s mentioned in this text. In the future, there will be many more surprises (or shocks?) waiting for me.

As long as we approach it with love, I’m not afraid of whatever the future holds. With my daughter, everything will be beautiful.

I am Gongzi Xi, the father of a third grader. I’ve been lying flat and parenting for over five years. I raise my daughter with scientific methods. Growing together with my child. Follow @GongziXi for happy growth; there will be a spring for flat parenting too!


It seems that the parenting journey also has an annual summary, so let’s take this opportunity to answer the growthof the child

Our older brother is about to turn ten. Just a few days ago, I was still pondering that ten years of sharpening a sword, and it seems that some of our brother’s study habits have slowly formed, making us more and more worry-free.

Everyone always says that children grow up quietly where we can’t see them. It’s the same with our older brother. In the fourth grade, he got a new math teacher and a new Chinese teacher. Both teachers gave feedback that our brother’s learning in school was going well. He could pay attention in class, think actively about problems, eagerly raise his hand to speak, and complete his homework diligently. In these four years of elementary school, I haven’t assisted him much academically; it’s more about him relying on his own inner drive and insight to progress step by step. In terms of learning, he can now manage himself gradually, and as a mother, I am quite pleased.

Independent reading before bedtime is a daily routine.

However, this year, besides studying, the child has also developed an interest in playing a small game called “Egg Party.” I don’t have a strong objection to moderate exposure to games for children of this age. But I’ve been observing to see if the child will become addicted and if it will affect his academics. After a few months, combined with the child’s learning status, I feel that I can be fairly confident now. The child says that playing games relaxes him and puts him in a better mood, which helps him study better.

In the latter half of this year, our brother gave up playing soccer, and my husband and I suggested that he try basketball. Originally, our brother wasn’t very interested in basketball, but after attending one basketball class and finding that he had a surprisingly high shooting accuracy, he started to find basketball quite fun. Our brother’s adaptability is still quite strong; if he tastes a bit of success, he can quickly become passionate. My husband and I are quite impressed by this.

Our brother has always had good hands-on skills.

Actually, for our brother, no matter what project he participates in, I have confidence in him. Because he always has a strong desire to excel, he sets standards or goals for himself in everything he does. He doesn’t easily admit defeat, and he loves using his brain, always preemptively anticipating problems and thinking of solutions, sometimes even better than my husband and me.

Recently, our brother also likes to discuss the future with me, talking about his dream high school, college, and career. Having dreams is undoubtedly a good thing; it will pull him forward.

Speaking of shortcomings, there is still not enough time spent together. This year, I devoted some of my energy to self-media creation, and with our younger brother being a high-demand child, I haven’t had much energy left for our older brother. Our older brother also complains that I show more love to our younger brother than to him.

Now, our brother always says that I can quickly reconcile with our younger brother, that when our younger brother misbehaves, I criticize him one second and smile at him the next. But with our brother, I’m not as quick to extend an olive branch. Upon reflection, it seems to be true. Subconsciously, I still think our younger brother is relatively young, and he can’t process certain emotions. When our younger brother’s emotions get out of control, I need to help him resolve his negative emotions. As for our brother, I always feel that he has the ability to manage his negative emotions, so even if he is already quite emotional, I might wait a bit to see if he can self-regulate his negative emotions.

And this year’s midterm exam review, it was the first time I accompanied our brother in reviewing since he started elementary school. Unexpectedly, during the review process, our brother was particularly happy. This is probably the first time he has properly reviewed for an exam at home. After the review, he couldn’t help but exclaim, “Mom, it turns out that reviewing is so much fun.”

The above is the progress of our brother in this year and the debt of our mother. In the new year, I hope I can allocate some more energy to our brother within my capabilities, after all, he is still a child.

This topic. I hesitated to write about it several times, but today, I finally dare to put it into words.

In this past year, due to my emotional instability, I have hurt my child too much. I want to say to my child: “My dear, I’m sorry!”

Because of my neglect of my son, he created many self-entertaining projects, this is the mango pit he nurtured.

At the beginning of the year, due to my mother’s sudden passing, I have been unable to recover from grief for almost a year. I often cry and even felt a bit depressed. I lost a lot of patience with my child. I often had an uncontrollable urge to get angry.

In this year, my 10-year-old son seemed to have grown up all of a sudden.

From the moment he kneeled to pay his respects to his grandma;

From the moment he cried and said, “I will never hear grandma calling me to fetch her cane again,” “I will never hear the sound of the TV in grandma’s room again,” “I will never see grandma again"~

From the moment he hugged me and said, “Mom, there’s no more mom…”

From the moment he carefully kept some delicious snacks and took them to the dog that grandma had raised from a young age;

……

I brought back the comb my mother often used and every time I use this comb, it feels like I can sense my mother’s warmth.

One time, I saw my son observing that comb carefully, and when he saw me, he said:

“Mom, don’t be too sad. Grandma’s wooden comb is still here with you! Being unhappy every day can make you sick. Have you forgotten that every time you were sick, grandma would make a lot of phone calls all day long? Even without grandma, you still have me~”

In this year, my son has changed so much, it’s as if he suddenly became more sensible. He’s especially afraid of me getting sick. Even if I have a slight discomfort, he will urge me to go see a doctor.

I have low blood sugar, and sometimes I feel dizzy. This year, my son suddenly became very concerned about this. Before going to bed at night, he would carefully open the wrapper of a candy and place it next to my pillow. He would tell me that if I don’t feel well, I can reach for the candy.

Towards other family members, my son seems to have become more tolerant as well. He used to be prone to tantrums, and when he argued with people, he had to win. In this year, his temperament has become much milder, and things that he used to fuss about have become minor matters.

He has started to care about everyone in the family, worries about grandpa’s diabetes, grandma’s old cold legs, advises dad to quit smoking, and is concerned about my low blood pressure…

In the end, he is worrying and cherishing, worrying about losing everyone in his life, cherishing everything he has now.

The departure of grandma has made him anxious, and my emotional instability and neglect of him over the past year have deepened his anxiety.

Thanks to this question from a friend, it reminded me and made me reflect.

In this year, my child was forced to grow up, and my guilt is immeasurable. I’m sorry, my child, starting from today, mom is back.

Let’s go play basketball together, have fun outdoors, tell jokes, discuss absurd topics together, and return to the mom who loves mischief and being cheeky, the mom who calls you “my dear” a hundred times a day~

Let us cherish all the people who have given to us and passed through our lives on this long and short journey of life, be grateful for the little joys, the warm sunshine, the cold winds, the clear skies, and the warmth and touch brought to us by our loved ones and friends~

This year has passed really quickly, and my son, who is now in the kindergarten middle class, is becoming more like a little man, independent and mature. In the past year, many unexpected aspects of his growth have filled me with joy and pride.

Unexpected Growth

Firstly, he is willing to try many things and has the perseverance and confidence to accomplish them on his own. My husband and I are avid outdoor enthusiasts, especially when it comes to hiking. We used to carry him in a backpack when he was very young, but this summer, we decided to take him night hiking on Kunming’s Changchong Mountain, prepared for the possibility that we might have to carry him.

His performance exceeded our expectations. He climbed from the foot of the mountain to the summit and back, a journey that took over three hours, and our then-four-year-old son completed the entire hike on his own without asking us to carry him. In that moment, I felt like the baby I used to carry in my arms had truly grown up. He was brave, strong, and had a positive outlook – truly remarkable!

The little boy who made it to the summit on his own~

Secondly, he has become more independent in many aspects of his life and no longer relies on his mom. He brushes his teeth by himself every day, washes his face cleanly, and happily goes to kindergarten holding my hand with his little backpack. He can play by himself in the living room for a long time, doing his favorite clay crafts and playing with his beloved Transformers.

The little boy who used to say, “Mom, help me,” now does things on his own and can even help his mom with various tasks. It’s incredible how much progress he’s made in just one year.

Helping mom carry everything~

The last “unexpected” aspect of his growth is how well he has mastered the things we’ve taught him this year. For example, when it comes to reading, he remembers the words he sees on bus signs, billboards, and even those he learns from reading apps on TV. His drawing skills have also improved significantly. Initially, we thought that as long as he enjoyed drawing and continued to do so, it didn’t matter how good he was. But to our surprise, he’s become quite skilled while having fun.

The paintings he creates~

Regret and the Desire to Compensate

During this year of accompanying my child’s growth, there were times when I couldn’t control my emotions and lost my temper with him. In the new year, I hope to keep my emotions in check and reduce the number of times I lose my temper. I want every word I say to him to be warm and to contribute to his happiness as he grows!

If you like my answer, please give it a thumbs up or follow me. I am @妍之有李, and I walk side by side with my child, never stopping, always growing. I continue to share parenting experiences and the joy of reading with children. I hope to earn your recognition on Zhihu!

Before having children, life seemed a bit long to me. After having a child, I suddenly understood the phrase “time flies,” as if just yesterday my son was nestled in my arms, soft and tender, nursing. In the past year, my son has grown a lot, especially in terms of his self-reliance and independence. His kindergarten teachers often praise his small achievements in their monthly evaluations. Looking back on this year, I’ve realized that my son has had some heartwarming moments of growth.

Silent Love from My Son

My journey to conceive and give birth to my son was filled with difficulties. I received over 100 injections to maintain the pregnancy. Consequently, my husband and I showered him with love, which made him a bit stubborn and self-centered. I thought he was too young to understand gratitude towards his parents, but deep down, he loved us.

Once, I was reading him a picture book, and my throat got a little dry, so I paused to clear my throat. I was about to continue when my son interrupted, saying, “Mom, wait for me.” I thought he needed to use the bathroom, but to my surprise, he brought me my tea cup, saying, “Mom, have some water!” I was truly moved at that moment.

Another time, my husband was on a business trip, and he had told us he would be back on Saturday. On Friday, our housekeeper bought some corn, my son’s favorite, intending to make corn and pork rib soup for him. However, my son said, “Auntie, let’s wait until Saturday to cook it so I can share the delicious corn with Dad.”

Recently, my son lost a baby tooth, and as a reward for being brave and not crying, I bought him two toys instead of one. Upon receiving them, he said, “Mom, didn’t we agree on just one toy? Don’t buy too many in the future. You work so hard to earn money!”

Your Focused Attention Is Adorable

I used to think that a child’s attention span was not as good as that of an adult, but that’s not the case. This year, I discovered that my son can resist the temptation of smartphones and tablets and can focus on the things he enjoys.

This year, I took my son to the cinema to watch several animated movies. Later, he read a set of comic books titled “Underpants Man,” which featured animated pages. He learned about the principles of animation production and expressed a desire to become an animator when he grows up.

He began drawing every day, dedicating at least an hour to drawing. He draws in the morning before school and after school in the afternoon. He is extremely focused, and even if his dad watches videos on his phone nearby, it doesn’t distract him.

These are some of his drawings of various desserts.

This is a picture book he created himself, titled “Little Bear Goes to School.”

As a second-generation knowledge child, he occasionally draws pictures of Xiao Liu Kan Shan (a Chinese internet meme).

I told my son that he would definitely become an excellent animator in the future, and I look forward to going to the cinema to watch animated movies he creates.

Speaking of regrets about my son, every mother in the world has them. It’s like the saying that’s popular on the internet: “If you want to lay bricks, you can’t have both hands to hold you.” In our family, there are no grandparents to help with childcare, and my husband and I are busy with work. Since my son’s full moon, he has been taken care of by a live-in nanny. Due to work reasons, he was forced to wean at less than 5 months old, and he didn’t enjoy much time cuddled in my arms.

My son has told me several times that he really hopes Mom can pick him up from school and that he envies classmates whose moms come to pick them up. Once, it was almost time for school to end, and the housekeeper had to leave suddenly due to a personal emergency. I rushed to the kindergarten, but I was still 15 minutes late. My son was waiting at the kindergarten gate with the teacher. When he saw me, he was initially happy, but then he burst into tears. I can’t help but feel heartbroken when I think about that little face.

I hope to find more time to spend with my son in the future!

When Xiaobai Shu was born, she experienced moderate hypoxia. The doctor said that it would take until she’s one year old to know if it would affect her limb movements, and until three, four, or even five years old to know if it would affect her intelligence. So, I’ve been eagerly hoping for her to grow up quickly.

Hoping, hoping, and in the blink of an eye, my child has grown a lot.

01 Improved Physical Coordination

Due to the hypoxia at birth, her muscle tone was higher during infancy, and her limb flexibility was slightly worse than other children’s.

(Rehabilitation at the hospital)

Until the age of two or three, her coordination was still not very good. Our home has stairs, and the steps are low. She went up and down them many times a day, but she would still hold onto the railing or an adult’s hand nervously when going downstairs until she was four years old before daring to go down the stairs with alternating feet.

When playing outside, if she encountered slightly higher steps, other children of the same age would simply jump over them, but she would bend down, put both feet on the step, and then slowly lift one foot over. Of course, this may not just be a problem with physical coordination; it’s also about her personality. Xiaobai Shu is a cautious child.

But the breakthrough I discovered was the day she actually learned to climb trees.

Previously, every time she would stand under a tree and silently watch other children climb it.

Last month, she was standing under the tree as usual, watching other children climb it. When I paid attention to her again, she had already climbed the tree, with a happy and satisfied smile on her face.

I quickly took a picture and sent it to her dad. This was a big surprise for us.

02 Willingness to Express Herself

Xiaobai Shu is a bit socially anxious, and her personality is introverted. When we go out to play, it’s usually Pipi, who is two years younger, who helps her socialize.

We often go to the beach to play, and Pipi likes to join in the fun and has a sweet mouth. She can easily walk into a group of unfamiliar children and quickly start playing with everyone. In contrast, Xiaobai Shu would play silently by herself next to the crowd and slowly approach her sister after a while, taking the opportunity to blend in.

Sometimes I would encourage and guide her to integrate more quickly, but I found that she needed time to prepare, so I followed her pace.

Last Saturday, I was surprised to find that she had become brave and willing to express herself.

As shown in the picture, the two sisters were playing with sand in the park, and there was a strange little boy next to them. He filled the spinner with sand and then spun it forcefully, causing the sand to quickly scatter. Some sand fell on Pipi’s body. I was watching nearby, thinking it wasn’t a big deal, and if Pipi felt uncomfortable, she would speak up. But at that moment, Xiaobai Shu actually said loudly to the little boy, “Big brother, your sand got on my sister, please don’t play like that.”

I was stunned, wow, Xiaobai Shu is so brave. I immediately gave her a thumbs up.

03 More Independent Now

Before Xiaobai Shu turned three, if her grandmother wasn’t available, I had to take time off work to take care of her. It’s not that other relatives and friends refused to help; it’s that no one dared to take care of her.

Before she turned three, if she was away from her parents or grandmother for more than 15 minutes, she would cry uncontrollably, and it could last for one or two hours. No matter how others tried to comfort her, it was useless.

But now that she’s attending kindergarten, she’s no longer the crying little girl she used to be. She has become more independent.

As for the debt to the child, there is some. In the past year, I’ve spent very little time with her. I go to work from early morning to late at night, and most of the time in the evening is spent putting her sister to sleep. The time spent with her is pitifully short.

But, fish and bear’s paws cannot be had both. With less time for companionship, we can only focus on improving the quality of that companionship.

Our daughter has grown up, and I hope I won’t forget my original intentions. Safe and healthy growth is all I wish for!

I am Xiaobai Shu’s mom! Parenting blogger and breastfeeding consultant. Follow me, and let’s grow together!

In the blink of an eye, the year 2023 is coming to an end, and looking back at the child’s growth, it’s actually faster than we imagined.

At the moment when the child grows up, looking at this picture, the old mother feels a bit emotional.

Unexpected Growth: “Emotional Expression”

  1. Once, the class teacher of the child’s class asked me to represent their class as a judge in a storytelling competition and to attend a class meeting.

    When I told the child about this, she asked, “Mom, should I go? Should I tell a story? Should I go on stage to speak?”

    Me: “You don’t have to go. Teacher Cao invited me to go, and you can just attend your class.”

    Child: “Oh, that’s good then. You go, and I’ll applaud! I don’t want to tell stories because I’m shy, and I’m scared! Mom, thank you for telling the teacher that I don’t have to participate in these. I’m very happy.”

    Me: “You’re welcome! I give you a thumbs-up. You expressed your feelings truthfully, and I’m very happy! You’re great.”

    Actually, when I heard this, I was quite surprised. Before, my four-year-old daughter would just say, “I don’t want to go,” and that would be the end of it. But in the past six months, she has learned to express her feelings and emotions.

    This is a significant improvement in a child’s emotional expression. Many times, we adults dare not speak like this!

    When I was a child, I didn’t dare to say I was shy or scared because I was worried that others would say I was timid. But it’s uncomfortable for oneself. Haha, now it’s a bit of a (dying-to-save-face situation) to talk about it.

    This is the fastest growth point of my four-year-old child, and it’s something I didn’t expect!

    Behind this emotional expression, it indicates that the child is not afraid to express their true feelings due to external factors. In the future, no matter what happens, they can speak up and be their true selves, which is the key to better self-development.

Unexpected Growth: “Innate Self-Discipline”

  1. Innate Self-Discipline: Here, innate self-discipline refers to self-discipline developed by oneself. This is my own understanding because the expression of innate self-discipline may vary from child to child, but the underlying logic is self-awareness and the ability to act self-disciplined without any pressure.

    For example:

    • The child automatically turns off the TV after watching three episodes every day.
    • When it’s time, they voluntarily ask for a bath.
    • They voluntarily ask for reading together or drawing, etc.

    Over the past year, during the summer vacation, we had two weeks of outdoor activities in the morning. The child was very proactive and would wake up around six o’clock, then we would go for a walk outdoors together. At first, I thought the child might not be able to get up, but unexpectedly, she was more enthusiastic than I was, and she had no problems with anything when it came to going out to play.

    This makes me affirm once again: a child’s self-discipline is really more sustainable when it comes to things they like. The effects of parental expectations and accompanying efforts are not as good. So, regarding the concept of “chicken parenting,” I don’t enroll my child in many interest classes and various courses. I prioritize respecting my child’s feelings and starting from their interests.

  2. For children watching TV, many parents may be afraid to let their children watch too much TV. At first, I was the same way. In the last semester of my child’s kindergarten, I wanted to spend more time with her, so I reduced her TV time. Now in the next semester, due to work reasons, my child’s grandmother takes care of her at home, and it’s inevitable that she watches TV more.

    At first, I was a bit anxious and worried that she would watch seven or eight episodes in a row. Unexpectedly, the child could control her TV-watching time. For a four-year-old child, I think it’s impressive! Stronger than me when I was a child!

    These are hand-drawn by the child freely.

When it comes to compensating children, parents should always create an environment of love and freedom, allowing children to develop themselves!

Love and freedom are relatively broad topics. Let me share my understanding of love and freedom: At the most fundamental level, it’s about respecting the child’s feelings, focusing on one’s own growth, and not projecting one’s expectations onto the child.

In simple terms, the relationship between the parents in the family comes first. When parents have high energy, the child will naturally follow suit in self-development. If one party has low energy, they will draw energy from the child, which will affect the child’s self-development.

I can say that sometimes my teammates and I haven’t been able to manage our emotions well. Sometimes my own anxiety is projected onto my child, and it’s quite common.

Once, on the street, my child wanted to buy a hamster and take it home, but I was worried about my child’s grandmother’s cleanliness, so I didn’t buy it for my child. My child was quite unhappy.

When we got home, I regretted it a bit. I thought it was a hassle to buy a hamster, but I said to respect my child’s feelings! I really slapped myself in the face. [Facepalm ~]

After analyzing it afterwards, this matter could have been easily handled. I could have put the hamster in another room, and my child’s grandmother wouldn’t have to come into contact with it, but I didn’t consider my child’s feelings at the time!

Thank you for the question, which allowed us to reexamine our child’s growth over the past year and our thoughts on parenting!

Wishing you well!

The night is deep, and my son is already fast asleep. The only sound in the room is the dripping of water from the fish tank filter. It’s a perfect time for me to review the year I’ve spent with my son.

In 2023, it’s the fifth year of my full-time care for my son, and it’s another 365 days I’ve witnessed of his growth as he turns one year older. He has indeed made progress and grown in many ways, while I have had some unfulfilled promises and missed moments of companionship in the midst of our busy lives. So, I’ll use this response to do some reflection and record-keeping.

☁ “Unexpected” Growth

Independence and Initiative

This is in comparison to before he turned three or four.

Independence, in daily life, means he can sleep alone in a room, go to the supermarket downstairs by himself in the elevator to buy food, play in the community and go to the nearest restroom by himself, and so on. In terms of behavior, if I’m busy with work in the morning, he can play with building blocks, listen to stories, or draw by himself. He can manage things on his own, and when he has a problem, he’ll try to solve it himself before seeking help from me.

Initiative, this has been more evident in the latter half of the year, especially in doing his homework. I’ve observed that he wants to finish his homework quickly so that he can play (haha). For example, if his teacher assigns handwriting practice on Monday and it’s due on Thursday, he’ll rush to do it as soon as he gets home on Monday. He does this without any need for reminders, and sometimes he gets upset if he can’t finish it on Monday. He has a sense of initiative and the desire to complete tasks quickly, but the quality of his work hasn’t been that great, so I’ve been working on that recently.

Emotional Management

This one needs to be discussed in stages.

When my son was a little over four years old and not attending school yet, I still remember that his emotional self-management was relatively poor. My husband and I are not the type of people who easily go back and forth with our emotions, so I’m not sure why our son is so different from us. His teacher politely mentioned in his growth record that his emotional self-management needed improvement.

Perhaps this year, his cognitive development and other aspects have further developed, especially after entering the kindergarten’s senior class. He now takes on the role of a big brother and, compared to when he was a little over four years old, his emotional self-management has indeed improved significantly. His teacher also mentioned that he no longer gets angry easily and is more playful with his classmates. When he’s unhappy or angry now, he knows how to express it verbally. In the past, he used to have emotional outbursts, so besides physical growth and development, he has also learned some methods to manage his emotions.

Spreading Warmth to Others

This year, my son continued to bring warmth to us, and what surprised me was that he also showed a lot of kindness to my mother-in-law and my parents, whom he hasn’t spent much time with.

During the summer vacation in August at my parents' house, he saw my mom cooking in the kitchen while his two older brothers were watching TV in the living room. He would run to the kitchen to help my mom carry dishes. If he saw my mom still busy in the kitchen alone, he would go over and ask her to take a break and come to the living room to rest with him.

He’s even more affectionate with his grandmother. We have video calls with her every few days, and his sweet words overflow the screen. When my mother-in-law rarely takes a day off to visit, he sticks to her in bed, serves her food, and fetches her toothpaste and toothbrush. Even when my mother-in-law had to go back to work the next day, he didn’t want her to leave and asked her to come back after work.

When we buy food, he not only shares it with me but also sets aside some for his dad. I used to guide him to do this, saying that his dad works hard, so we should get him something delicious. Now he knows what his dad likes and saves some for him on his own.

Actually, neither side of our families is particularly close, but whenever I have the opportunity, I tell my son, “Your grandmother is your only grandmother, and she loves you unconditionally, so we should love her too…” “Your grandfather is my dad, and he’s the reason I exist. Now that your grandfather is getting older, we should take good care of him…” As my son grows year by year, he also has his own understanding of family affection.

☁ “Compensatory” Regrets

Small Experiments and Exploration

My son loves to play with small experiments and exploration. There was a time when I was very busy, and he would hold a book of experiments by DK, exclaiming to himself. He saw that I was busy but didn’t want to disturb me. He asked me many times to buy materials and do experiments with him. I kept saying we’d do it later, but later never came because I hadn’t managed my time properly.

Physical Activity Commitment

In the summer, we did a lot of outdoor activities, and although he didn’t engage in formal sports like basketball, soccer, or running, he was active every day. After the winter set in, physical activity took a back seat. I always felt overwhelmed and attributed it to not prioritizing exercise.

Travel to Nearby Cities

In the first half of the year, I talked about taking my son to nearby cities for sightseeing. Even though Shanghai and Suzhou are so close, we never made it. In the last semester of kindergarten next year, I’ll try to take him out, or else, starting first grade in the fall might mean pushing it further into the future (facepalm).

In fact, children change in different ways every year, and growth cannot be measured by just one or two specific things. As an ordinary person, there are definitely things I can’t do to provide a better life for my child. What I can and want to do is to go with the flow, accompany him on the paths he wants to explore, let him experience what he wants to experience, and learn to let go of all burdens and enjoy his childhood innocence. Even if it’s not perfect, I’ll try to make the good moments outweigh the rest.

I am a stay-at-home mom who works from home, known as @Jiu Xi on Zhihu. I’m on the Zhihu Top Answerers list. I have a 5-year-old son, and I will continue to share practical parenting experiences. Follow me for interesting and meaningful moments in parenting and child growth.

When it comes to a child’s growth, I often feel:

Children always quietly grow in places we can’t see.

Children silently grow in moments we least expect.

The moments they grow up, if we don’t reflect on them, we might miss them. But when we seriously look back on a child’s year, we realize how significant their growth has been.

When I saw this question, I carefully recalled my child’s various behaviors over the past year. I realized how much she has grown:

In Daily Life:

1. Habit of Organization and Tidiness Finally Developed

Starting from the second semester of the first grade, I gradually began to let go of organizing and tidying up for her. I went from packing her school bag to just reminding her to do it. Now, after nearly a year, I have completely let go.

At the beginning, she would forget to bring various things like textbooks, workbooks, pencils, and erasers. The most extreme incident was when she forgot her lunchbox. Every time she forgot something, I did not rush to bring it to her.

The reason for not doing so was twofold. First, the teacher didn’t call, indicating that it wouldn’t be criticized. Second, I wanted to train her to solve problems on her own.

As it turns out, when you start letting go, children really figure out how to solve problems. If they forget their pencils or erasers, they borrow from classmates. If they forget their lunchbox, they ask the teacher for disposable chopsticks. As long as they use their brains, they can solve anything.

After a year of forgetting things, she hardly ever forgot anything after starting the second grade.

Moreover, when it comes to packing her school bag and organizing her desk, I rarely intervene. She can do these things on her own now.

Once she got used to doing it herself, she didn’t want me to interfere anymore and felt that I would only mess up her things.

2. Developing Self-Care Skills

She started washing her own underwear in the first grade. At first, it was just a perfunctory wash, but after I taught her the correct method, she practiced for almost half a year.

Now, from washing to wringing out the water and hanging the clothes on hangers, she can do everything by herself.

In addition to washing, she also learned how to fold and organize her clothes starting from the second grade. Step by step, from being messy at the beginning to being organized now, it took nearly half a year. It may not have been fast, but at least she learned.

Self-care skills may seem unrelated to learning, but in reality, they are full of wisdom.

In Learning:

1. Finally Developing the Habit of Independent Reading

I’ve shared about this issue before.

In summary, after a relaxed first grade and a more focused second grade, my child finally learned to read independently. This was a huge relief for me as a parent. Of course, the road to reading is still long, but we’ll keep working on it!

Since she started reading on her own, her reading speed has increased, and the range of books she reads has also expanded. Our next goal is to diversify the types of books she reads. Previously, she mostly read fantasy books, so next year, we plan to explore more non-fiction books.

2. Greatly Improved Learning Enthusiasm

In the first grade, she was like a blank slate, not understanding much and studying just because she had to. But in the second grade, she developed more opinions and views on learning.

Of course, this came with a bit of rebellion!

However, the most important thing is that her enthusiasm for learning has greatly increased because she finds joy and confidence in her studies.

We often say that children lack confidence. Even if you tell them a hundred times to be confident, it’s hard for them to become confident if they don’t know how to do anything. True confidence comes from “I can,” and “I can,” leads to the willingness to learn. The more you do, the more you learn, creating a positive feedback loop.

In this year of learning, my child has been in this state. She learned, so she sincerely wanted to study. By dedicating herself to learning, she learned even more, expanding her circle of knowledge, and her self-confidence gradually increased.

Speaking of growth, let’s talk about the regrets I want to compensate for:

Regret 1: Lack of Stable Temperament and Mindset

The biggest regret of this year is probably my unstable temperament and mindset. I often lose control of my emotions, and my child bears the brunt of my anger. Regarding this, I often apologize to my child.

I hope that my love can make up for the harm I’ve caused. Of course, the most important thing is not to vent my anger on my child anymore!

So, in the new year, I hope to stabilize my temperament and mindset through further self-improvement. Growth should never stop.

Regret 2: Insufficient Physical Activity for My Child

After school started offering after-school programs, she would come home at 5 o’clock, and there was hardly any time for physical activity or exercise.

Especially in the fall and winter seasons, it was already dark by the time school ended. When she got home, we had to rush to eat and get ready for bed, leaving very little time.

As a result, my child’s physical activity decreased significantly.

I hope that in the coming year, I can provide more physical activity for my child. If necessary, I will consider taking a leave of absence from work. While academics are important, physical health is always the top priority.

After all, without a strong body, it’s impossible to sustain long hours of learning!

Time flies, and in the blink of an eye, the first semester of my child’s kindergarten year is coming to an end. The little one who used to call me for everything, even to watch me take a shower or use the bathroom, is gradually growing into a more independent child. During the last school visit, the teacher privately told me that when my child speaks, she always sounds reasonable, can clearly explain her reasons, and sometimes the teacher feels that something is not quite right but can’t refute her… It left me in awe.

But to be honest, as a mother, I’ve witnessed my child’s growth throughout this year.

From Clinging to Mom’s Gum to Being Mom’s Little Supervisor

This year, I’ve been quite busy, unlike before when most of my time was spent on my child. I felt a bit guilty and hoped to spend more time with her. But I also feel that my child understands that both adults and children have their own things to do, and she knows that it’s important for me to do my own things. As a result, she has become more independent.

Previously, she used to take naps for over an hour at home during lunchtime. I don’t remember when it started, but suddenly, she stopped taking naps. However, I still have the habit of napping at noon. Now, when I nap, she closes the bedroom door, goes outside to read or play on her own, and comes in around three o’clock to tell me that she wants to eat some fruit.

During school days, I used to wake her up in the morning, but on weekends, I really want to sleep a little longer. If it’s past 8 o’clock, she will definitely wake me up. At that time, I often thought, this is karma… If my husband didn’t have to work overtime, we agreed that she would wake him up to make breakfast and play with her so that I could get some extra sleep. I instantly felt like we were a family that spoiled each other.

In the evenings, I often accompany her to sleep while working on my laptop. Sometimes, when I’m really tired, I close my eyes and lie down next to her. Then the tone changes.

The little one pokes me and asks, “Mom, have you finished your work?” I say, “Not yet, but I’m tired and want to sleep.” She says seriously, “That won’t do. You need to finish your work before you can sleep…” I have to force myself to stay awake.

I used to envy friends whose children could play on their own, especially because my daughter, Coco, used to be very attached to me. My mom used to say that she would keep calling for me if she didn’t see me for a moment. Later, I found that giving children some opportunities for solitude can indeed make them more independent.

Persisting Even When It’s Tough

Coco has always been a bit delicate since she was little. She would refuse to walk if it was too far. Occasionally, when I asked her to do chores, she would get tired quickly and refuse to continue. However, she is a child with a strong sense of autonomy, and she insists on her choices, no matter how tired she gets.

Earlier, she wanted to learn to dance, so I enrolled her for a semester. She started with great enthusiasm but complained about being tired after just a few classes. I pointed to the goals we set together on the wall, which included learning a complete dance this year. I reminded her that she chose this and wanted to learn. After that, she stopped complaining and completed every class, even if she felt tired.

Recently, I signed her up for a trial inline skating class, and she really enjoys it. I expressed my concerns to the coach, worrying that my child might not endure the training for too long. The coach admitted that the training could be quite exhausting. However, my child immediately promised that she would persevere, just like she did with her dance lessons. After giving it some thought, I decided to enroll her because I believe that if she’s willing to start something, she’ll see it through, no matter how tough it gets.

Growing Ambition

I can’t say whether this is an advantage or a disadvantage, but when she was younger, every time she did crafts, she would easily lose control of her emotions if she couldn’t complete them according to her ideas. Now that she’s older, it’s even more evident. When she does something, she strives for perfection.

This year, her kindergarten class started learning how to jump rope. We were late by two weeks due to some family matters, and her progress fell behind a bit. The teacher mentioned that they hadn’t covered much during the first two weeks, and with extra practice, she could catch up. However, during the first week of school, when she saw that some classmates could already jump quite well while she couldn’t, she sat on the playground and cried… I was speechless and a little worried that she might feel anxious.

When we returned home, I suggested taking a jump rope downstairs to play after school. Initially, she couldn’t coordinate well, so I jumped with her. I turned the rope while she followed my rhythm. During that time, I accompanied her a few times, but the rest of the time, when she came home from school, she would bounce on a mat by herself for a long time. She was really into it. Not long after, I took her to a square and found that she could already jump almost 30 times.

Jumping high

Although I used to think that jumping rope was easy to learn when I was a child, I actually found it quite challenging when teaching my child. Young children tend to jump too high and land in different spots each time. Their hands and feet are not coordinated. In the beginning, when she was already behind, she was willing to practice hard and quickly caught up. This time, she really impressed me.


Children quietly grow up when we least expect it. Raising a child for the first time, every little change in the child can bring immense joy to parents. Seeing the rewards of our adult efforts is a source of great satisfaction. However, growth also means gradual separation, and having less time for companionship is inevitable. Ensuring high-quality bonding time within the limited time of interaction and making the most of our respective time is also a way to express love.

I am Guangyi, turning enlightenment into art, focusing on sharing the joy of early childhood enlightenment experiences. If you, like me, hope to continuously explore your child’s characteristics and needs during your time together, and provide appropriate enlightenment support, please follow me and let’s communicate and progress together.

Turning Enlightenment into Art—Sharing the Joy of Early Childhood Enlightenment

Parenting Experience for Preschool Children

Loving Your Child, But Loving Yourself Too—My Parenting Philosophy

As children grow older, I found myself constantly pressuring my child to study English, pointing out any gaps between his performance and my expectations. I could see that my child was becoming irritated by this. However, I couldn’t find any other way to ease my anxiety. During last year’s winter vacation, I encountered something astonishing in my hometown: the niece of our neighbor, who was in her senior year of high school, refused to go to school! In everyone’s eyes, this girl had always been extremely obedient and one of the top students in her class. Why would such an unexpected situation occur? The niece explained that she was tired of being nagged and pressured to study all the time. She wanted to live life her own way! Her mother was constantly sighing in frustration.

If I didn’t correct my approach, I would soon face a similar situation. Starting from last year’s winter vacation, I began to let go: I didn’t obsess over every word he didn’t memorize; I didn’t dwell on every wrong answer to a question; I didn’t constantly monitor his performance in homework; I controlled his phone usage… I let him manage himself. Some friends said that my hands-off approach was harmful, but I insisted: I don’t want to exhaust myself, and even if I push him hard, it won’t turn him into a top student. So, my child and I agreed on a “year of self-management.”

To be honest, I was anxious about this experiment: Would he stop memorizing vocabulary? Would he stop doing homework? Would he keep scrolling through his phone? Would he…?

But I discovered (as I answered these questions) that he had changed in this year—

Son doing well√

  1. He would come home, take a short break, and then start his homework without any signs of procrastination. He completed it quickly and usually finished by around 9 p.m., although his handwriting was still a bit messy, it had improved compared to before.

Self-initiated engagement, self-check-in

  1. He voluntarily joined the English teacher’s reading group, followed the teacher’s schedule, and checked in every day, receiving praise from the teacher every week.

  2. He didn’t retaliate by constantly playing with his phone, just reading novels for a while and then putting the phone down.

His performance was better than I expected, and his grades were steadily improving. It turns out that “my previous supervision was all in vain,” as my child had become self-aware.

In addition, when I returned home from work, I found that porridge was already cooked, and upon asking, I learned that my child had made it. He said, “You must be tired from work, so I made it, and now you can do less.” This was really heartwarming!

Looking back, I realized that my child had truly grown without me even noticing!

Speaking of the regrets that need to be compensated for, it must be the absence on Children’s Day. Since becoming an early childhood educator, every Children’s Day has been spent with other people’s children. After starting primary school, when he had holidays, he spent Children’s Day “alone without mom.” Last year, I even cried about it:

Children’s Day celebration on a headline platform last year

The companionship on Children’s Day is truly a luxury for the child of an early childhood educator. For so many years, my child has never had the experience of celebrating Children’s Day with his mother by his side. I can’t even begin to make up for it!

This year, I’ve clearly noticed a significant improvement in my child’s athletic abilities!

  1. Previously, the maximum number of rope jumps was only around 100, but this year, it’s reached about 120.

  2. Last year, his running speed couldn’t compare, but this year, I can barely catch up with him.

  3. Last year, he wasn’t very skilled at soccer, but this year, he can dribble past opponents, and even his dad can’t keep up with him during soccer anymore.

In this past year, it’s also clear that my child has become much more “sensible,” but this is what I feel the most guilty about.

The beginning and end of the year are the busiest times for marketers, with all sorts of major and minor matters piling up. Every day is spent either writing reports or arguing with superiors about budgets. Our home has almost turned into a sleeping apartment, and my teammates have become strangers. I can’t even exchange more than a few words with my child every day.

After several consecutive days of coming home close to 9 p.m., I could hardly eat a proper dinner, and I just wanted to lie down. My child would come to me and ask, “Mom, can we read a new book together? This one is really interesting!” I was so tired that I could only respond half-heartedly, “Mommy is very tired; you can read it by yourself.”

The child walked away feeling disappointed.

After a while, he would come back with a new toy and say, “Mom, look, this is a new set of building blocks; let’s play together!” I raised my voice a bit and said, “Mom is really tired! Play by yourself for a while!” The child sadly whispered, “You haven’t hugged me today.”

It turns out that every day when I come home, I would always hug my child first, spend some quality time together, but recently, I’ve been so exhausted that I even forgot this small ritual. I suddenly felt very guilty, so I quickly got up and hugged him, apologizing sincerely, “I’m sorry, my dear, Mommy has been very busy lately, and I forgot! Let’s read a new book together.”

That made the child smile again.

You see, children are so forgiving.

Before, I saw many questions about why teaching children was easy to cause high blood pressure, but in reality, children are much more forgiving of us.

On weekends, I often see him playing the board game “Three Kingdoms Kill” with his dad. I would usually just watch on the side, as I wasn’t really interested in it. But in my child’s eyes, he might have felt like his dad and him were excluding me, so he eagerly invited me to join in.

Because I wasn’t genuinely interested, I couldn’t remember the skills of various generals, their uses, or the game rules. I would ask about the purpose of each card repeatedly, and my teammates would roll their eyes at me. However, my child was very patient with me, flipping cards for me and patiently explaining the rules. We played for over an hour, and he explained for over an hour, never getting impatient. Although I never really learned, looking back, I was deeply moved. Maybe in the future, he’ll think Mom and Dad are not very smart and can’t learn certain things, but for now, he loves us sincerely and without reservation.

Sometimes, when Dad is too tired and raises his voice, the child, feeling wronged, still remembers to save a piece of the delicious cake he bought for Dad and leaves a few fresh strawberries, saying, “Dad also likes to eat.”

So, while our children still need us, let’s spend more time with them and not let our love be lost in the excuses of busyness and exhaustion.

Let’s be more patient with our children. Compared to them, we are truly too stingy.

Ladies and gentlemen, the annual award ceremony for parenting is officially underway~

Under the influence of the maternal filter, I feel that my 3-year-old little fish has grown more than I have this year.

Three years old is a challenging age for kids - they gradually shed their babyhood, develop many “first-time” skills, and truly begin to move towards independence, leaving their parents to go to kindergarten.

From this perspective, little fish’s growth has been pleasantly surprising to me.

1. First Time in Preschool, Overcoming Separation Anxiety in 5 Days

In March of this year, when little fish was 2 years and 10 months old, I enrolled him in preschool.

Before sending him to preschool, I provided him with a lot of information about kindergarten, read books about going to kindergarten with him, and visited the preschool three times in advance to familiarize him with the environment and teachers.

On the first day of preschool, I told him that after he wakes up from his afternoon nap and finishes his snack, Mom and Dad will come to pick him up. Little fish was incredibly calm and cooperative, following the teacher into the classroom. This made me briefly think, “Could this kid adapt to preschool so quickly?”

However, by the afternoon, little fish realized he was at kindergarten and started to cry, missing his mom. According to the teacher’s feedback, in the afternoon, he became aware that he was in kindergarten, and he remembered to cry and look for his mom. When I went to pick him up, he was indeed teary-eyed.

The first day of school, still unaware of what was about to happen, he innocently followed the teacher into the classroom.

On the second day, when he realized he was going to kindergarten again, he couldn’t hold back his tears, starting to cry on the way there. On the third day, his crying became even more intense, almost resisting entry to the kindergarten.

Of course, I tried various methods, picture books, communication, plenty of hugs and companionship, and ensured that I was there to pick him up as early as possible every day.

The separation anxiety lasted for 5 days before little fish finally adapted to preschool. He started going to preschool happily every day, and he even began sharing stories about kindergarten with me.

I was prepared for him to have a separation anxiety period of up to 2 weeks. But what I didn’t expect was that he actually completed the adaptation process in just one week, and it was I who was a bit anxious and uncomfortable about my child going to school.

Children’s adaptability is truly more remarkable than we imagine.

2. Officially in Kindergarten, Becoming an Independent Kid

After a month of attending preschool, I took him to stay in our hometown for a month, during which preschool was put on hold.

Upon returning to Xiamen in June, he smoothly transitioned to another new preschool, and he surprisingly had no resistance. He really liked the new teachers and classmates and even often talked about his preschool friends after starting kindergarten.

At the end of August, he officially joined the public kindergarten next to our neighborhood. Compared to the nearby children who cried and were reluctant to enter the school, he appeared much more mature!

Now, this 3-and-a-half-year-old kid has developed a habit: every morning when the clock points to 8, he happily says goodbye to me, puts on his little backpack, and goes to school with Dad. But he always reminds me, “Remember to come pick me up!”

Before bedtime, he spontaneously asks to “talk about happy things at kindergarten.” He can fully describe, “Today at kindergarten, we had snacks after class, then played in the play area, had more classes, and then had snacks again. After snacks, we went to sleep, woke up, had some fruit, and the teacher took us for a walk on the playground. After the walk, we had snacks again, and then I packed my backpack, pulled the little cart, and Mommy came to pick me up!” After sharing, he’d say, “Now, you can say goodnight.”

Photos sent by the teacher, little fish diligently “barbecuing.” When he got home, he told me, “My barbecue shop did great today, and the teacher rewarded me with elephant stickers.”

In the past few years, as a full-time mom, I rarely left little fish. This year, due to work commitments, I started having some business trips.

During these trips, little fish and Dad were very happy. But every time I returned, he was clingier than usual. In October, when I returned from a business trip, he directly negotiated with me: “Mom, next time you go on a business trip, can you take me with you?”

Perhaps the biggest regret and debt this year is that we didn’t take our child on many “faraway journeys.”

He looked at picture books featuring the Yellow River and the Stork Tower, various bridges and buildings from different places, and snow. Sometimes, he would say, “It’s snowing at Grandma’s, and I want to see it.” When playing with map puzzles, he would point out where Taiwan and Shanghai were, and he called one region the “Hotpot Province.”

I bought him a globe and a Chinese map puzzle, and he enjoys looking for where we live and where his grandparents live on the map.

Dear child, in the future, Mom and Dad will make sure to create more opportunities to take you out into the world.

Thanks to and @庄胜春 for the questions. This year-end summary of parenting issues allowed me to look back at my child’s growth over the year, and it truly brings much joy!

Year after year, compiling these summaries becomes a weighty keepsake of our journey.

Children Grow Up at Astonishing Speed, Creating Pleasant Surprises Synchronously!

Under the filter of being the “firstborn son,” every aspect of a child’s growth is full of unexpected and delightful moments. In this article, I’d like to highlight some of the “unexpected” aspects of my son’s growth.

A Brave and Just Little Rascal

My son just started kindergarten this year, and at home, he doesn’t have any playmates his age; most of the children he interacts with are much older. When playing with them, he often finds himself in a subordinate or follower role.

In the eyes of adults, he appears vulnerable and easily bullied. So, when he first entered kindergarten, our biggest concern was, “Will he be bullied?”

Then, one day, I received a message from his teacher informing me that my son had been in a fight and had scratched his hand.

I was shocked and heartbroken, thinking that my son had become a victim of bullying. However, the teacher explained that it was quite the opposite. He had seen a classmate’s toy being taken away and had stepped in to help retrieve it, displaying a sense of justice.

This unexpected twist in the story revealed that my son wasn’t the one being bullied; he was a child with a strong sense of justice who stood up for his peers. It filled my fragile heart with both pride and worry.

Acts of heroism come at a cost, like the injury my son sustained. However, I didn’t discourage him. Standing up for what is right is a virtue, and it should be encouraged and acknowledged.

But instead of discouraging him directly, we should let children learn from their experiences in a controlled environment, like school, where teachers and peers can provide valuable feedback and guidance.

Now, my son knows that he can seek help from teachers or wait until they return if he encounters a situation he can’t resolve on his own.

Most of the time, children resolve conflicts through negotiation, exchange, and compromise.

At home, we provide him with the support and encouragement he needs. At school, teachers offer timely behavioral corrections and guidance. During playtime, children find their own ways to build and strengthen their friendships.

Environment and time are indeed powerful facilitators of growth.

After three months of kindergarten, my son has made many friends in both the big and small classes. When he meets them, he greets them with excitement. It’s amazing how quickly this little boy has adapted.

“Mom, I Want to Go to School”

I remember when we first sent him to school, he cried bitterly in his father’s arms, unwilling to let go. It was a heart-wrenching scene for all of us.

Three months later, in the current environment, where illnesses like the common cold are prevalent, my son fell sick.

He had a fever, cough, runny nose, and he became anxious, irritable, and emotionally unstable, which was exhausting for us.

So, I decided to take a leave from work to take care of him. After a good cry, and with the help of some medication, he began to recover.

On the first day of his recovery, he said, “Mom, when can I go back to school?”

The next day, he said, “Mom, I want to go back to school tomorrow!”

And on the third day, he said, “Mom, they had physical education class today…”

My husband and I hugged each other with tears in our eyes. Finally, the days of worrying about sending our child to school with a heavy heart were over.

I asked my son why he wanted to go to school instead of staying at home, and he said, “There aren’t as many toys at home, no other kids to play with, and no snacks like the ones the teacher gives us at school.”

When we initially sent him to school, I used similar reasoning to encourage him, but he didn’t seem interested. The experience itself has made all the difference!

After resting at home for about ten days, he has almost fully recovered. Next Monday, he’ll be returning to kindergarten without any worries or struggles. No more coaxing needed!

Complete Weaning

Yes, you read it right! At three years and eleven months old, my son has officially been weaned!

Due to frequent medications, we needed to strictly control the timing of his milk or breast milk intake to avoid any chemical reactions with the drugs, which could be harmful.

So, my husband made a deal with our son. He promised that if our son could go 20 days without drinking breast milk, he would buy him an Ultraman toy of the same height as him.

At the mention of “Ultraman,” my son’s eyes widened, and he eagerly agreed. There were no arguments or tears. At most, he snuggled in my arms, took a whiff of the familiar scent, and looked back with a bit of reluctance.

Clearly, the prospect of having his beloved Ultraman toy was more enticing than milk. But, I couldn’t have predicted this change before seeing the results.

Reflecting on Our Shortcomings

Claiming that we owe nothing to our children is impossible. Even if we strive to do our best, perfection is unattainable.

I always wish to work a little harder, earn more money, and provide a better life for my child. He is in a phase of life where he wants both companionship and material comforts.

I can only work on my tasks while my son is at school or asleep because of the fragmented nature of my time. It’s not very efficient, and seeing friends who work together efficiently and receive bonuses fills me with a mix of emotions. Keeping negative emotions away from my interactions with my child is a challenge.

Therefore, my son often says I’m like “Baldy” from “Boonie Bears” and that I have a bad temper.

“Baldy” (a character from an animated series)

For a 4-year-old child, every day of life may be a continuous process of growth and progress. You watch as she grows day by day, the babyhood slowly fading away, and she gradually blossoms into a thoughtful and emotional little girl. Occasionally, she utters words that may sound childish, but behind them could be her thoughts and judgments. This sense of achievement may truly be irreplaceable.

Let me share a recent incident that deeply moved me and made me realize that my child has indeed “grown up.”

Learning to Choose and Find Passion:

This may sound a bit exaggerated, but this year, my daughter C has learned to choose her own interests and pursue them diligently.

C hasn’t been enrolled in many extracurricular classes since she was young, except for early education, the longest one being swimming. However, this year, her emotions seemed a bit negative, and one day, she even cried loudly in the swimming pool. I was bewildered, and the coach was quite puzzled.

Later, she told me that she really didn’t like swimming. She would complain that the water was cold one moment and that her stomach hurt the next. In short, she found countless reasons to avoid it.

I pondered for a while:

What is the purpose of teaching her to swim? Is it to make her excel at something? No, it’s just to help her exercise.
There are many ways to stay fit; does it have to be something she doesn’t enjoy? Clearly not.
So, if I give up now, will it encourage her to quit and give up on things in the future? That’s hard to say.

After much thought, I decided to give up. After all, I would rather see her happy and joyful at this moment than risk her developing negative attitudes and giving up halfway in the future. Especially, I don’t want her to resort to lying to avoid something, who knows if there will be more extreme behaviors in the future?

Unexpectedly, when I told her she could stop swimming, C immediately jumped for joy and said, “Thank you, Mom! I’m so happy!”
After that, for several weeks, C kept confirming with me, “I don’t have to swim this week, right?”
It seems that this incident had placed a heavy psychological burden on her.

Not long after, C expressed her desire to learn ballet. After trying various dance styles, she finally settled on ballet, saying firmly, “Mom, I want to learn this.”

During this time, C has been extremely dedicated to her classes.

To be honest, their classes are quite intense. After a little over an hour of class, the children are usually drenched in sweat. The teacher is strict, and there have been times when C cried during class. I watched her cry while dancing from outside.

But no matter what, C always comes out of class with enthusiasm, telling me to practice at home. If a movement isn’t right, she can practice it at home for a long time. This is truly the first time I’ve seen her exhibit such passion and perseverance.

Starting the warm-up with a smile

Diligently learning dance moves

Happy even during splits

You see, when she puts on her ballet dress, it’s like she’s radiating light. I love her confident look.

Recently, C told me she wants to improve her physical fitness and aspires to become a special forces soldier someday. Haha, as long as it’s her choice, I’m willing to let her try. I’m very happy that she’s making her own choices at this age.

I believe that “having opinions, ideas, and the courage to express and try, and even the ability to refuse” should be considered the most significant growth and progress C has made in the past year.

As for any shortcomings, it might be having a more stable emotional state when spending time with my child, trying not to lose my temper. I will continue to work hard, Mom.~

In the year 2023, my child’s growth has truly exceeded my imagination, and it has witnessed many “firsts” for my child.

At the beginning of the year, there was a shy and introverted little boy who often hid behind his mother, a little boy who needed his mother to “convey messages” when talking to others. When he first started kindergarten, he always acted alone and seemed out of place. Now, he has grown into a lively and outgoing “little socialite” who enjoys school life and loves chatting with people.

Looking back at the photos of this year, I am filled with emotions and a deep sense of gratification.

First Time in Kindergarten: From Not Adapting to Loving School

In the first two weeks of kindergarten, he cried and shouted not to go to school every day. The photos sent by the teacher always showed a worried and tearful expression, and he couldn’t integrate into group activities, always standing on the sidelines.

Sitting on the sidelines with a teary expression

Now, he truly enjoys school life, and he tells me a lot about what happens at school and what he has learned every day. I must say that I have also learned a lot from him.

For example, last week, he learned about things that are dangerous and came home to tell me seriously, “Mom, electricity wires, hot water, and knives are all very dangerous. You must be careful!”

Yesterday, while we were out together, he said, “Mom, do you know how to say ‘斑马线’ (zebra crossing) in English? It’s called ‘Zebra Crossing,’ taught by the teacher!” I honestly didn’t know that, so I learned something new too.

At school, we have also witnessed many “firsts” for other children.

First school-organized outing to the aquarium with classmates:

First participation in a sports day:

First time performing on stage (end-of-term music concert):

Now, he even builds things with blocks at school and proactively asks the teacher to take pictures to send to me, saying he wants to show them to his grandparents:

Posing with a fake smile

His end-of-term evaluation report for the first semester, except for Vietnamese, all other subjects are marked as “Exceeding.” I’m really proud of him.

From Shy and Introverted to Buying Things and Chatting with People

The change in my child in this aspect is truly noticeable. At the beginning of the year, when we took him out, he would always hide behind his parents. When others spoke to him, he wouldn’t respond, or he would communicate through his mother.

At that time, I was worried that he might be too introverted, but unexpectedly, school life has gradually made him more extroverted.

When we went to an amusement park and rode the carousel, he would actively go buy tokens himself. During meals, if he heard people at the neighboring table speaking Chinese, he could strike up a conversation with them.

Experiencing the job of a firefighter

Travel Companions with Mom and Dad

In the first three years, we hardly traveled, so this year, whenever we had the chance, we took our child on trips. We went to the seaside, grasslands, mountains, Disneyland, museums, and City Walk.

Our child is truly a great travel companion; he doesn’t make a fuss during long flights or car rides. We visited the Shanghai Astronomy Museum, and he learned a lot of knowledge. During these trips, he has become more outgoing, and he actively chats with strangers.

Fragments of our travels

Our trip to Shanghai

A Child Who Loves Reading and Has a Strong Curiosity

Reading together with my child every night is the most rewarding thing I’ve done this year. We completed “Journey to the West,” read fairy tales, and almost wore out “DK Children’s Encyclopedia,” among many picture books.

Some of the books on the bedside table

My child loves books related to science, and his recent favorite is the newly bought “Wild about Science.”

Yesterday, when I was reading to him about “The Science of Sound,” the book mentioned that bats use sound waves to determine their position, and humans cannot hear the sound waves emitted by bats. The frequency of sounds that humans can hear is between 20-20,000Hz. My son immediately asked me, “What is the frequency of the sound waves emitted by bats?” His thirst for knowledge pleasantly surprised me, and I had to look up information to answer his question while reading to him.

Where I Owe My Child…

If I were to point out where I owe my child the most, it would be that I often can’t help but lose my temper. I hope that in the coming year, I can control my emotions, be more gentle, and accompany my child.

In conclusion:

The speed of my child’s growth has truly exceeded my expectations, and I often feel like I can’t keep up with his thoughts. I look forward to more surprises that my child will bring in the future, and I will strive to improve myself, grow together with my child, and provide him with more love and companionship!

This year, as many surprises as there are, there are just as many debts.


1. Separation

In the first half of the year, my two-year-old daughter and I experienced a separation that lasted for 40 days.

During the hot summer in Xi’an, I sent her and her grandmother back to their hometown to escape the heat because I was afraid that if I sent her away, I wouldn’t bear to leave her.

One morning, as usual, I got up for work. She stood at the door and said goodbye to me, saying she would wait for me to come back and see her. Then, during the day, she went back to her grandparents' hometown, and this separation lasted for forty days.

One day during a video call, she cried and said:

Mom, ride your electric bike back quickly to see me (I ride an electric bike to work in the summer).

I said:

What if the battery runs out on the way?

She replied:

You can go to the service station to charge it and continue on your way back.

I suppressed my longing and tears and comforted her with a smile:

You go play with grandma first, and Mom will go charge the bike. Once it’s charged, I’ll come find you.

Then, I hung up the phone.

For some time after that, because I was afraid she would cry during video calls, I rarely made video calls.

One day, my mother-in-law called and said that the sun was scorching at noon, and my daughter was standing at the front door, refusing to go home, saying she was waiting for her mother.

When we finally reunited after 40 days, I noticed that she had grown taller and become more sensible.

We arrived home very late at night, and she was still awake, waiting for us. After lying in bed, she held her father with her left hand and me with her right hand. We rested our heads lightly on her small shoulders, afraid of hurting her. She repeatedly said, “Mom and Dad are back” with a different tone in her voice. I was moved and felt guilty. I didn’t let go of her all night.

I silently told myself to try not to miss any of her growth in the future, not to let her cry because of separation, not to let her stand at the front door eagerly waiting for Mom, only to be disappointed time and time again.

2. Starting Kindergarten

Just thirteen days after turning three, little Duoduo started kindergarten and became a preschooler.

On that day, I took a day off from work to accompany her and her grandmother to kindergarten. After returning home, I worried all day. Later, from the school’s videos, I found that she was having a great time playing, and that put my mind at ease.

In the following week, she had moments of crying and refusing to go to kindergarten, but in the end, she chose to compromise. Her only request was, “Mom, pick me up after school.” However, I could only fulfill the “drop-off” part, not the “pick-up.”

Every day after work, she would ask me why Mommy didn’t come to pick her up. I would say:

Mommy’s workplace is far away. If I can’t pick you up, you can wait at the door with Grandma, okay?

She agreed on one hand but emphasized on the other that Mommy must come to pick her up the next day.

To spend more time with her, I didn’t dare to work overtime or make dinner plans. After work, I rushed back home, fearing that she would wait too long.

However, when I got home, I had to update my social media accounts from time to time. So, sometimes, I seemed to be by her side, but most of the time, I was sitting in front of the computer, both on weekdays and weekends.

She might have gotten used to my state. Now, every time she sees me open the computer, she says to me:

Mom, focus on your work; you don’t have to worry about me.

As a mother, I feel a mix of emotions.

Recently, I have been thinking about a question: What was my original intention in managing my social media accounts?

The honest answer is: I wanted to be a freelancer to spend more time with my child.

Another voice echoed: If I can’t even be present for her now, can I really provide her with more companionship in the future?

After understanding this issue, I began to slow down the frequency of updating my accounts and tried to leave more free time for my child.

Whether it’s work or social media, the essence is for the sake of life. Since life has deviated from its track, I need to consider whether this path is correct. By slowing down and leaving room for contemplation, life can be more fulfilling.

3. Falling Ill

This year has been the toughest for my child. She has rarely been sick since she was born, but in November this year, she had a high fever three times in a row, requiring two rounds of IV treatment. Her tiny hands were poked with needle marks, and she cried bitterly. I cried along with her.

Holding her in my arms with a high fever in the middle of the night, I frowned. Perhaps she thought I looked too serious because, despite feeling unwell, she made funny expressions to amuse me:

“Mom, I can take my medicine without crying.” “Mom, Duoduo is not feeling uncomfortable.” “Mom, I love you so much.”

Sometimes I wonder if I saved the Milky Way in my previous life. Is that why I have such an affectionate daughter?

The more sensible she becomes, the more guilty I feel because during her most vulnerable moments, when she needs her mother the most, I am not by her side.

During her illness these few times, I only took one day off, and the rest of the time was spent with her grandmother and father.

Every night when we meet, she holds me and says, “Mom, can you stay home with me tomorrow?” I can only feel powerless, and all that remains is guilt.

Whether it’s difficult or not for a working person, it has nothing to do with the work itself but with the company’s policies. Your child is your own, and life is your own. The workplace is a place that values efficiency, not sentiment. So, when you repeatedly take leave, no one will understand. This is also the reason why I have been thinking about new directions this year. If I can’t even accompany my child when she is sick, what’s the point of working hard?

As first-time parents, there are many inadequacies and uncertainties on this journey. I strive every day to learn how to be a good mother, how not to let my emotions take over, and how to bring more happiness to her. However, emotions often cloud my rationality.

In 2024, I hope to be a warm mother, a gentle mother, a mother who keeps her promises, and a happy mother.

In 2023, I would like to express my gratitude to my mother-in-law. To prevent little Anan, who is only one year old, from becoming a left-behind child forcibly separated from her parents as described by the original poster, my grandmother chose to become a “North Drifter” to take care of little Anan daily, allowing us to work with peace of mind on weekdays!

Regarding little Anan’s growth in the past year, it has been evident to all. From one year old to two years old, she has brought us many surprises and unexpected joys.

In the past, she could only say “Daddy,” “Puppy,” and “Hug.” Now, after a year, she enjoys singing, can recite five ancient poems, occasionally utters some English words—her language development is excellent. She’s practically a chatterbox, and every time we go out, people around us wonder how this child can talk so much.

When she was younger, I composed a little nursery rhyme for her, which I used to sing to her every night before bedtime. It was like a lullaby.

Anan, Anan, my good girl, Anan sleeps, Anan is a little treasure, The little treasure is Anan, Daddy loves, Mommy adores, And there’s a lovely grandmother, The lovely grandmother is yours, Your grandma loves you too.

One night, after singing it several times, I thought she had fallen asleep, so I stopped. However, she clapped her own buttocks with her hands and started singing the song herself. I was truly surprised and found it amusing. This child could memorize such a long verse, and she had learned self-hypnosis!

Indeed, growth happens unintentionally but is the result of prolonged and subtle influence.

Another unexpected event was weaning little Anan when she was one and a half years old. For us, this was a significant challenge because our willpower was not firm, and during this process, we were unsure how to handle the child’s anxiety. If we accidentally triggered her to get sick or something similar, it would be a loss.

For me, who had breastfed for more than 500 days, I had grown accustomed to the child’s dependence on me. Severing this final link, the feelings of disappointment, loss, and no longer being needed were making me hesitate.

Fortunately, my child is very brave. Although she didn’t adapt well at first and always wanted “neinei” (breastfeeding), she eventually accepted it quite easily. She would lift my clothes and see “neinei” stuck with adhesive, then say, “Goodbye, Grandma, I’ve grown up!”

Du’an’an: 10 Days of Weaning for a Baby with Severe Milk Addiction

I think it’s a success that she insisted on this matter. She touched me a lot, and I truly believe that children are braver than adults.

Lastly, I believe that little Anan has given me a lot of healing and confidence.

As she gradually grew up, little Anan developed separation anxiety. Every time her dad and I went to work, it inevitably made her cry. So, Grandma always had us leave while she was asleep or slip away silently. We never dared to face this separation.

But later, we realized that this situation would only make her separation anxiety worse, affecting her sleep and making her cling to us whenever we were at home. So, we took a series of measures to help her gradually accept the separation.

Every night when she goes to sleep, she looks at me with anticipation and says, “Mommy, can you not go to work?” What should I do?

Now, it has developed to the point where when we go to work, she actively says goodbye to us and then sings the song herself: “Daddy and Mommy go to work, I go to kindergarten, I won’t cry, I won’t make a fuss…”

It’s as if she’s comforting me, saying that she has grown up!

Time has flown by, and little Anan is already two years old. In this year, she has shown so much growth that has touched me deeply. I’m very grateful to her.

If there is one thing I feel I owe her, it’s that sometimes, for the sake of having a little independent personal space, I intentionally come home late or plan activities like watching movies or going to the library. Also, when I’m with her, sometimes I slack off, telling her that I’m working on my phone when I’m actually scrolling through TikTok. Haha!

Seeing the stories depicted by the original poster on the train truly moved me. There was a time when I, just like the original poster, listened to the stories of the working people on those green trains. The parents who toiled for their children on those trains are some of the most unforgettable memories of my college life.

This year, my son has transformed from a toddler taking wobbly steps into a very independent young boy.

The Independent Little Boy Who Can Pee on His Own

Take today, for example. I took him to Happy Countryside to play. My two-year-seven-month-old son no longer needs me to ask him if he needs to pee. He runs into the small grove by himself, takes off his pants, and lifts the little hose himself. After peeing, he quickly pulls up his pants and continues playing on his own. I, his mother, have become almost unnecessary!

In August, I was worried that we might have to start over with potty training when autumn arrives in September. Unexpectedly, he naturally stopped wearing diapers during naptime in September. However, at that time, he would still pee in his pants while engrossed in play.

We had to tell him, “Next time you need to pee, hold it like David and tell Mom.” I even covered my crotch like David and mimicked holding it in as a demonstration.

To our surprise, in the blink of an eye in October, he really started holding his crotch like David and said, “Mom, I need to pee!” I quickly ran to him, picked him up, and headed to the bushes. He took off his pants, watered the little plants freely (the plants probably thanked me, haha). I got into the habit of carrying a small water bottle with me, just in case we were on a long car ride and he needed to pee.

To our astonishment, by the end of November, he no longer needed me to take care of his toilet needs at all. Now, he doesn’t even want me to take off his pants for him. He goes to the toilet on his own, flushes the little toilet, and the whole process is incredibly smooth. If I try to help him, he gets mad at me, and I have to apologize for a long time. Who would have thought that in just one night, the child would grow up.

He can bravely feed animals now⬇️

“Mom, Come Closer”

Yesterday, I was playing with my son in the backyard. A car was coming from the opposite direction, and my son immediately grabbed my hand and pulled me towards the inside, shouting, “Mom, move to the side, come over here! A car is coming, don’t get hit!”

At that moment, my eyes welled up with tears. I didn’t expect that this little boy, who hadn’t even turned three, could already take care of me.

Before, I used to look around in all directions to protect him from oncoming cars. I never imagined that my son would reverse roles and become the one taking care of my safety. He was playing with the tricycles by the roadside while keeping an eye on potential dangers around us. Most importantly, he was concerned about me, his mother. Who would have thought that such a young child could take care of others?

During the weekend, we went to Egret Bay to play, and we brought lunchboxes for a picnic. After finishing our meal and walking a bit, my son reminded me, “Mom, did you bring the lunchbox?” Recently, I was so tired that I misplaced his water bottle. He comforted me by saying, “Mom, when we move to a new house, you can buy a new water bottle for me!” He has become my little reminder.

I realize I can retire early now!

Photos my son took⬇️

“Grandma, Help Me Take Pictures, I Need Them for My Article”

Speaking of unexpected moments in a child’s growth, there are truly too many. What touched me the most was when I took him and some friends to a museum once. He called out to my friend from the bakery, “Grandma, help me take pictures, I need them for my article.”

Coincidentally, I overheard him saying this. At that moment, I couldn’t help but smile and cry at the same time. Since the first half of the year, I had slowly started doing self-media work, and at that time, my focus was more on my son. As I spent more and more time on self-media, I began to balance how to spend time with my child and efficiently complete my articles. In my daily life, I would accompany my son when we went out to play and look for materials I wanted to photograph. I would tell my son to wait for me because I needed to take pictures for my article. I never thought my son would remember my words and my work.

These days, he has started saying, “I finally finished writing my article.” Hearing these words, I actually felt a bit heartbroken for my son. He takes good care of me. Every time I wake up early to write, he calls me to go back to sleep. Yesterday at noon, he said to me, “Mom, come and rest! Get some sleep!” I asked him, “Are you afraid that Mom will be tired and in a bad mood if she doesn’t sleep well?” “Yes!”

This little guy knows everything. He knows that I work hard so that I can spend more time with him during the day and also contribute to our family’s finances. He worries that I might get tired every time I try to spend more time with him during the day and wake up early to write articles.

I hope that next year, I will be able to finish my articles faster and have more time to spend with him during his last carefree spring and summer. In the second half of next year, he will also enter the world of preschool.

If you are willing to use an artistic approach, willing to warm lives with your life, can we walk together, sing nursery rhymes together, tell stories, engage in role-playing, play happily together, and treat ourselves and our children gently, adding a little more beauty to every day and night? I am @Art Therapist Li Jiaying , looking forward to meeting you.

PS: Thank you for your likes and support, I will work hard to create better works to share with you.

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