“Mama, kor kor stole a Chinese New Year cookie!” Li-Ann yelled out as she ran to me. Before I could say anything, John came in and told me that it was Li-Ann who took a cookie. For all stay-at-home moms, this is probably a familiar scenario we have to handle frequently. After verifying with John that he really didn’t do it and with Rebecca who witnessed the incident, I decided to talk to Li-Ann.
I took her to my room for a private investigation.
“Li-Ann, look at Mama. Did you take the cookie?” I asked very calmly, looking at her straight in the eye.
“No I didn’t. It was kor kor.” she asserted but quickly continued, “Look! Mama,” Li-Ann opened her mouth and showed me what was on her tongue. I saw some pieces of food. They could be the leftovers from the cookie. The ‘thief’ just owned up!
“Li-Ann, are you hungry? You took the cookie right?” I asked her again, looking straight at her big, round and innocent eyes, trying extremely hard to contain my laughter, but I was not very successful. She saw me shook somewhat with muffled laughs and felt rather embarrassed. She blinked her eyes a few times and smiled sheepishly. Composing myself, I asked with a Mama’s authority, “What do you do if you want a cookie?”
“Ask Mama,” she answered in a small voice after thinking for a while.
“How do you ask?” I prompted her to think further the way she ought to communicate.
“May I have a cookie?” she said quietly.
“That’s right. Please ask Mama. If you have taken the cookie, please don’t say that kor kor took it. That is telling a lie and it is wrong. Don’t do it again. Please say ‘sorry’ to kor kor. I’m sorry lunch is late and you are hungry. Let’s go get lunch now.” I walked her to the kitchen to get lunch ready, after she apologised to John.
You know, whenever something goes missing in the house, I would usually question John and Rebecca. Now that Li-Ann is growing up, she does take things without asking or telling any one of us. This was the first time she tried to ‘steal’ food behind my back. One reason was probably because the Chinese New Year goodies were placed visibly on the table during this festive season. While it was wrong to steal, I’m happy that she was aware of what hunger was and knew that she had to eat something. It’s so good that she can tell us now. This is yet another evidence of her cognitive development. I remember reminding myself to keep to a schedule when Li-Ann was a less than 1 year old as she might not cry unless she was terribly hungry, like after 5 hours from her last milk feed. I thank God for her growth and development.