I have just returned home recently for a short visit. As usual, I make my regular trips to Klang to visit my family. One thing which I look forward to is to see my 1 year and 10 month old niece. She is a cheeky little thing but a bundle of joy.
Since she was 6 months old, she has developed a flare for impersonating every single thing we do; from my Dad snoring to her pregnant Mum puking into the toilet bowl. Not only does she know how to imitate but she also understands the concept of comedy because she enjoys watching us laughing in stitches with her antics.
The latest thing she learned shocked me. When I ask her to kiss her mother, she will tilt her head slightly to position her tiny little nose, put her hand on her Mum’s cheek and kisses her right on the lips. Not yet 2 and she already kisses like a pro. Apparently she has learned this from the television.
The thing is, it’s all innocent but yet there is something disturbing about it. We have been brought up to see children as children, not as sexual objects. But now, with the influence of media, technology and fashion, children are becoming adults too soon, too quickly.
It doesn’t help either when more and more people are taking a liking towards children in a sexual way. Sometimes, when my husband and I see cute children around, we can’t help but pay attention and fuss over them. Then we are rudely awaken by the uncomfortable feeling that we might be perceived as paedophiles.
When did innocent hugging and touching of children become so wrong? Look at the picture below which I took recently in Cambodia. This father was fooling around with his son and yet what would usually be a beautiful picture, became distorted by the countless of stories I have heard about boys being sexually exploited.
I am not a mother yet but when I become one, I think I will be obsessively worried about him or her growing up too quickly. By then, how do I tell him or her that childhood and innocence do not last forever and while they do, they should get the best out of it?