As some of you know we recently have moved to Toronto. It’s been almost exactly one month now which means we moved here right at the beginning of winter. Bringing a child to a new country means a lot of changes but bringing them to a new climate is a whole other story. Now add the cherry on top – starting school in the middle of the year and you’ve set the stage for a supremely unhappy child.
Now Aaliyah’s a pretty phenomenal kid. She’s smart, very emotionally advanced and some may say a bit too mature for her own good. I personally feel she’s somewhat high maintenance – which just means that she gets put in front of the TV a lot because in reality how many paint, drawing, puzzle, cooking, block projects can I do in one day? This is more now than before simply because our stuff hasn’t arrived from Pakistan yet so she has very few toys to keep her entertained.
So thank you Shomi for providing a host of TV shows and movies for her to watch. Because that’s the high point of her new life right now. Getting to watch as much Tom and Jerry as she wants (I’m really not a fan of the show for kids but it’s her favorite these days). She watches TV with breakfast, after school and all the way until it’s bed time. Can’t really blame her considering there’s not that much to do and it’s just too much of a hassle to go out in the cold. I’d sit in front of the TV all day if I didn’t have anything else to do to!
The New School
Can you imagine a starved monkey hanging off the fence at a zoo in some third world country, just hoping that someone will throw it a few scraps of food? That’s exactly what Aaliyah looks like when we pick her up at home time. I can see her school from our apartment window and because she wears a white hat, black jacket and hot pink snow pants I can see her sometimes too. What I’ve come to conclude is that she pretty much hangs off the fence for the 30 minutes they have to play outside until we come to pick her up. Of course by then she’s crying too because according to her, she misses us too much.
A Meowing Bribe
Enter the bribe that meows. Initially we were going to get this only child of ours a cat and we had thought it best to wait for one year so that we could settle down better in Canada. But what we didn’t factor in was the utter loneliness Aaliyah would feel after leaving all that extended family behind in Pakistan. Because of all the emotional blackmail that Aaliyah is putting us through (yes I know it takes time for children to adjust but she’s an expert at twisting our little finger until it breaks and then giving it a few tugs just for fun) I had to resort to a bribe. If she makes it to school for 30 days without crying in the morning and playing with her friends at home time she gets a cat.
Because I forgot to make her a rewards chart before she came home from school, I quickly drew this and put it up on the fridge. Crude, but it works. 1 star down, 29 to go.
Honesty Disclaimer: Things don’t always go as well as we think. The first star she got I thought to myself “OMG, I’m such a genious! She’s playing with her friends and not waiting for us anymore”. Only later did she reveal to us in all her childish naiveté:
“Mama, see I wasn’t standing at the fence waiting for you. I was walking around in circles in the playground waiting for you.”
Good one my little girl…good one. I shall win this battle yet.