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Please Allow Me Some Time to Grow Up
He’s a lively and sunny boy. He enjoys sharing his toys with other kids, even snacks brought from home. Now, he would say, “I’ll share with you what I have if you share with me what you have in exchange. Is this okay?” He has learnt to express his needs with words. Of course he couldn’t have made such big progress without his mother’s effort.

Yang Jingxuan, from Anhui Province, lives in Beijing with his family. His mother Ding Yicui, a volunteer at the Dongba Centre, also calls him Xiaozhu which means “little pig” in Chinese because he was a heavy baby when he was born.

Xiaozhu and his mother attend our daily Early Childhood Development Program classes. They are now in the last class and Xiaozhu’s mother is also in the Mother’s Support Group. Xiaozhu’s mother takes an active part in all kinds of activities at the centre. She never fails to show up at the Mothers' Reading Club.

This has been Xiaozhu’s second semester since he came to the last class during the Fall semester of 2014. He was supposed to stay in the middle class; however, as he didn’t know how to put his needs into words, he often bit people instead. Other mothers in the class labeled him as a rough kid for that. At last, his mother couldn’t take other people’s criticism anymore and took her son away. Haiyan managed to stop them and told Xiaozhu’s mother, “It is wrong for Xiaozhu to bite others, but it is because he doesn’t know how to express himself. He wouldn't bite others unless they are going to touch his things or even snatch them. It is just his own way to handle it when he knows no other way. We want to work with you to guide him. We really do.” From then on, the two of them came to the last class. I also paid special attention to Xiaozhu.

After some time, I found that the boy would bite only when he’s anxious. He believed that he had to defend himself when others tried to snatch something from him, so he bit. And when he wanted something from others but did not know what to say, he would bite to let them know. But whenever you taught him the right from the wrong, he would listen quietly and correct his action.

Xiaozhu and I often played and chatted one on one. I found that he’s actually a nice and warm-hearted boy, for he would often help us out. During our conversation, I found that his mother often used techniques learned from the Mothers' Reading Club and they really worked. I remember Haiyan mentioned that during a parent sharing session, her glass was at first on the table beside her. In the middle of the session, Xiaozhu took the glass and walked towards her, saying, “Here’s water for you.” He went on playing afterwards. When he saw Haiyan move the glass, he went up and took it in his hand. When everyone else was ready to stop him, Haiyan waited to see what he wanted to do. And it turned out that the boy only put the glass back. Everybody was suprised. Actually, kids are not as complicated as we imagine. They just have their own ways.

Now when Xiaozhu faces problems and cannot express himself, he will ask his mother or the teachers for help instead of biting. When he eagerly wants to read someone else’s book, he would ask if they can make an exchange instead of biting. He has grown up from the boy who used to solve all the problems with his teeth to one that can organize his own words and communicate with others. He even learns to share things with other kids. Now our dear little boy will say, “Mom, I’m old enough now. I can help you. You can take some rest.” and “Mom, I love you” to his mother. I believe that his mother has made considerable effort to change her son and has born all the techniques learned from class in mind to put them into practice, for a mother has a very direct influence on her child.

Watching Xiaozhu’s changes over the last semester, I have come to believe that every kid has the potential to be brilliant.

Opportunities and proper guidance are all they need to shine. Just like planting seeds, it takes time for our kids to grow up.
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