Suma, Topa, and Kaia fun times

I love watching Chris’s parents interact with Kaia. I love that they adore her so much and enjoy actively spending time interacting with her, whether that’s in person or via video calls. It’s the type of grandparent interaction I always hoped she would have. After our last trip to Melbourne, Kaia’s memory has been quite strong in remembering her Suma, Topa, and Shushu (Chris’s brother). She always mentions them and calls them out whenever she sees photos or videos of them. She also has associations with them, such as remembering that Suma played piano with her when she saw a piano in her Habbi Habbi book. In the same vein, it also annoys me (at least, when I actively think about it) how uninvolved my parents are with her. They have actively refused video calls. The one time we went to visit, they barely interacted with Kaia directly and had to be forced to hold her. It was embarrassing to witness. Yet somehow, they insist how much they love her and how she’s the most important thing to them (really). Kaia has zero memory or association with either of her maternal grandparents. While I think that’s sad and pathetic, there’s not much I can do about it.

Last weekend while we were traveling in Pennsylvania, Chris kept on trying to get Kaia to engage with sights on the streets and roads we were walking and driving on. He’d say things to Kaia, like, “What color is the car?” or “What animal is that?” And oftentimes, before Kaia had a chance to look or respond, Topa would eagerly respond with the correct answer. I found this absolutely hilarious. It was almost as though Chris were the adult, and Topa and Kaia were the pupils learning in class; Topa had reverted from a 70-year-old grown man to a 2-year-old toddler in just seconds! So eventually, Chris got frustrated with his dad constantly answering, so he yelled out, “What are you, 2?! The questions are for Hoji, not you!!”

Was Topa trying to help Kaia? Of course he was. But he wasn’t giving her enough time to respond, and sometimes, you have to give kids the time and space to grow, otherwise they won’t grow and mature. There’s always a fine line between helping your children and hindering their growth. And the line is always very different and grey depending on the situation. It’s something as parents you have to consciously and constantly navigate.

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