At twelve months old, Fina is already testing our integrity as far as she can.
Although I’ve tried saying yes to her as much as I see fit, there are still many times she has to hear the word no, usually involving sharp utensils, wall sockets, and nearly anything to do with tea…
Not surprisingly, Fina loves tea. From about seven months old, she could hold a tea-cup, proper Chinese style and, as long as I only poured a small amount of tea, she would drink it without spilling. I’ll give her some from the third or fourth steep, when there is little caffeine left. She gets very excited about tea time and comes running with great glee when she hears me in the tea room setting up. I’d love to let her play and see what she would do, but it’s just too dangerous… boiling water, delicate clay pots, expensive tea!
I found a small one hundred year old Chinese tea-cup for only 5000 won, that’s a perfect size for her, and, so far, it’s proven durable enough to survive the short drop from her hands to the floor, but she rarely drops it. The thing that worries me the most, though, is the glass kettle with the alcohol lamp beneath it to heat the water. It must look very attractive to her because she’ll stare at it, talk to it, and touch the bamboo handle with her extended index finger.
A few days ago, she wasn’t content with just touching, she reached with both arms and looked as though she was about to lifted, so I told her a very stern, “No.” She looked at me and gave me a little screech, then tried again. I held her back with my hand on her chest until she stopped pushing. With the kettle between us, we quickly engaged in a battle of the wits. I knew I couldn’t afford to lose this early in the parenting game. As she reached one more time, I pointed at her face and repeated, No, again. She looked at my finger, then looked at me and we stared for a few tense moments. She then looked back at my finger, pressed the tip of her nose against it and burst into laughter. I laughed just as loud and the whole thing came to a pleasant conclusion.
I may have one the battle, but she already has me beat by a long shot on the way to becoming a Buddha!