Every now and again there are moments that define us. These may not be massive, life-altering events. They could be everyday occurrences that throw light on who we are or what we have become. The realisation is as immediate as it is striking. I had one of those days recently which I know will alter some aspects of parenting for me forever.
Kabir was out for a picnic with his friends yesterday. It was a nice sunny winter afternoon. He was practically on his ripstik for 3 hours out of 4. Instead of coming back home from the picnic, he decided to play for 3 more hours in the society park. I don’t think there is anything better than free play, that too outdoors, for a child, so I let him be. He came home tired and devoured a full plate of chicken fingers at such speed that I was surprised he left the bones. Then came the tough part of getting him to do his dreaded Hindi homework and practice for dictation. Kabir hates Hindi and I suck at it so I happily passed on the task to my dad. But you can’t ever escape being a mother, can you?
Mistake 1 – He kept asking for dinner and I thought he’s making an excuse to escape homework, he’s done that in the past. In any case, how can one still be hungry after having so much chicken! It’s protein, isn’t it supposed to fill you up? He was cranky, unmanageable and pretty much refused to write a single word. I scolded him at the top of my voice while feeding him dinner (feeding him is something I rarely ever do) and despite my bitter words, he cheered up. I was proud of myself for being a ‘good’ bad cop.
In retrospect I realised it wasn’t my scolding that did it, it was food going into his system which did the trick. Yes an 8 year old, after playing for 7-8 hours, can be that hungry. And I thought I knew it all!
Mistake 2 – Kabir asked for a break after finishing his first bit of homework. I refused to oblige. And then he started complaining about pain near his waist. Since I was fuming already, I didn’t believe him and thought he is complaining of a stitch probably because of all the food he gobbled up so quickly. But no he wasn’t. He lifted his tee and there was a big fresh wound from his fall at the park.
I thought I will never fall in to this trap of disregarding something just because it is a child who is saying it. But I did. A lesson I wouldn’t forget for a long time to come.