WebClick Tracer


alpside downed mindaviews column brady eviota

BERN, Switzerland (MindaNews / 05 April) – At the start of this year I was thrust unexpectedly into a chore that I found ultimately fulfilling, that of taking care of a 2-year old baby.

Not my baby because I have entered my senior years, nor that of my children because both are unmarried, but my wife Theresa’s granddaughter. Elle has to live with us for a while, because her mother is often changing work shifts as a nurse in Germany. And since my home-based work makes me the most flexible in the household, I was left with the baby for the most part of the work days.

I didn’t mind the role because I have experienced being a hands-on dad to my children when they were growing up some 30 years ago. But that was a long time ago, when cloth nappies still had to be washed regularly and there were still no gadgets to entertain the child, the so-called “electronic babysitters” in the form of computers, laptops or cellphones. 

I must admit that while I wanted to limit daily gadget use for young children, I was forced to rely a few times on videos on tv to keep Elle occupied and free me for other housekeeping work. But I was choosy with the material, not wanting to expose Elle to unwanted values like materialism. It was troubling to discover that many popular vloggers were simply showing off the toys or the children’s games of their corporate sponsors, or were putting out trivial or insipid content instead of  valuable learning aids for very young minds.

Elle too was learning fast and getting choosy with her videos. While at age one she was partial to “Teacher Rachel” videos, she moved on quickly to “Bebefinn” and “Baby Shark” (her favorite at the moment). At first she preferred the slick videos of “Diana and Roma” (which I felt had too much commercialism) but then we discovered the  superb “Masha and the Bear” episodes and those became my favorite  content for her. 

Video quality does matter for young children. Elle already finds boring the old Disney cartoons that I have loved as a child, although I am still hoping that I can interest her in the classic fairy tales of the Brothers Grimm (and might she find the “Cat in the Hat” books engaging?).        

But how to keep a two-year old entertained? I have to put in my good time and effort always, there is no easier way about it.  And that means with her playing puzzles, or board games like Monopoly (with no rules), or endless rounds of  Play-Doh and block building to help her tactile skills. I also knew from common sense that little girls always like to play house or kitchen or cooking.

I am always amazed at the open and curious nature of children to explore the world and the things around them. Elle broke a few of her toys trying to understand how they worked. If only we adults had their curiosity or their persistence in trying to understand the ways of the world and in fixing the things that are broken! 

I learned that one of the most fulfilling things about babysitting is gaining the child’s trust and confidence. I earned it after many hours of babysitting, after Elle decided that I can be depended on to provide what she needs for the moment. In contrast, adults distrust others who do not share their religion or beliefs, and put down those who have lesser abilities and wealth than them.

Finally, Elle has given us joy and happiness when she is in the house. She has the ability to  draw us together, with all of us hurrying home to see her  instead of making that round of window shopping or small talk after work.

Amazing that our two-year old was giving us these lessons in return for taking care of her.

(MindaViews is the opinion section of MindaNews. Brady Eviota wrote and edited for the now defunct Media Mindanao News Service in Davao and also for SunStar Cagayan de Oro. He is from Surigao City and now lives in Bern, the Swiss capital located near the Bernese Alps)

Your perspective matters! Leave a comment below and let us know what you think. We welcome diverse viewpoints and encourage respectful discussions. Don't hesitate to share your ideas or engage with others.

Search MindaNews

Share this MindaNews story
Send us Feedback