Meet my grand-daughter, Jasmine at her first birthday. With my birthday in the same month, we had a grand dinner – her dad paying for the lot: So many accomplishments cascading through the generations!
Her eyes already show the mix of Chinese and Anglo-Italian makeup. Her father, Paul, won over the in-laws’ hearts in China by giving a speech in Mandarin at the wedding.
Children disarm and yet impact on virtually every nook of life that parents had imagined they could preserve. The sociologist Peter Berger somewhere wrote about children as a perpetual invasion force that progressively subdue the natives (their parents) into taking on duties and altering their ways to meet the pressing needs of the invaders. Even here, Jasmine trying to take little footsteps had many hands being offered to assist.
Now (6 months later) she can walk and run and as she discovers the laws of gravity with each fall, others quickly reassure her that falling is really mother nature’s way of playing with her. Wonder rather than fear seems to keep Jasmine chasing new horizons – both in the external world but more amazing, given her age, the internal world of ‘rules’. Now with the parents duly ‘baby-proofing’ the furniture – with special latches on doors etc, Jasmine herself has taken to inspecting each such latch and demanding any unlocked latch gets put right.
Her mother Lili seems to have developed that wondrous capacity to let children ‘find their feet’ rather than fretting over possible mishaps. But an interesting feature of Jasmine’s life lies in Lili having her mother, Sui-Ping, living with the family, thus ‘in-sourcing’ child-care – at the very least. And so this blend of Chinese inter-generation support combined with an Italian capacity to find fun even in the humdrum, means Jasmine’s get the love of her parents without them collapsing in exhaustion while trying to manage two careers and raise a daughter. Triumphs abound.