Praise my child? Not me.

April 16, 2007

Reading this post by The Mad Momma started a train of thoughts.  She exhorts mommies to stop being modest about thier kids’ achievements and start celebrating the good along with the bad, to start praising our kids openly while bemoaning their tantrums and nasty tempers!  I would take that advice with a pinch of salt.

My mother always warned me against praising my child openly.  I assumed there was some funda of ‘nazar lagna’ and conveniently ignored her.  Whenever friends enquired about Aru, I would be quite frank with them and talk freely about both good and bad experiences.  I boasted about her being a non-fussy child and in the same breath complained about the sleepless nights, I called her a lazy bum for crawling and walking late and felt proud when she got potty trained very quickly.  Then I noticed something… 🙂  Initially they looked like coincidences and my rational self always managed to explain the incidents, but…a doubt always lingered…

When Aru was a tiny mite, she would always wake up early.  Being a morning person, I simply loved her timings.  She would be massaged, sunned, bathed – early in the morning.  Sometimes even before her dad got up.  I would proudly tell all my friends that she was a morning person.  Just like me 🙂  When it was time to join work, I felt confident of being able to handle everything myself and still reaching office in time.  But, when I actually joined work…things changed.  I would get up early, finish all my work and wait for Aru to wake up.  But, the little princess had lost all interest in seeing the sun rise and in hearing the birds chirp in the morning.  She dreamt happy thoughts in the morning oblivious of her anxious mother.  I’ve resigned myself to braving the peak hour traffic.  On good days, the young lady somehow manages to get up by 9:00am and rushing through morning has become a routine.  When I watch her energetic self at nights, I’ laugh at myself for calling her a morning person anytime.

When Aru was introduced to solids, she seemed to like everything that was offered to her and wasn’t fussy at all.  She enjoyed all her soups, juices, khichdi, suji, nachni etc.  When she was given fish for the first time, it was a big day in the family.  Not for Aru.  She ate it as if she had always been having it.  My husband was very happy-  “She has Bengali tastes!!” he proudly remarked.  Aru simply loved food.  But, times changed.  These days food just doesn’t figure anywhere in her priority list.  Only thing I manage to feed her after some herculean efforts is plain dal-rice.  So much for her “Bengali tastes!”.

An elderly acquaintance complained about her three year old grandson not being potty trained.  Their son stayes in the US and his wife is working.  I explained to her the possible reasons why the parents wouldn’t have been able to train him, and at the same time felt relieved that we could train Aru early and quickly.  I.just.felt.happyI.didn’t.say.a.word.to.the.elderly.lady.  But, the very next week Aru ended up wetting her bed three nights in a row.

Aru loved fruits- anaar, aam, kela, tarbooj, kharbooja, chikoo- you name it.  You could offer her fruits anytime and she would never refuse.  Even after she had had a good meal!  And she thought nothing about chocolates- any variety.  I used to feel good about it.  Alas!  These days she wrinkles her little nose whenever I offer her any fruit and gaily accepts anything wrapped in those chocolate wrappers!!!  You can feel her joy when she slowly twirls the wrapper and opens it, slowly pops the chocolate in her mouth and relishes every bit of it!!!

Next time I see a mother talking lovingly about her little one’s achievements, I’m going to admire her for her courage!!  Call me chicken hearted, make fun of me- I love my life better!

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On 19th March Aru turned two!! 

She had been enjoying birthday celebrations at her day care- loved to sing the birthday song, loved the non-creamy cakes and wafers that are part of the celebration at the day care.  Everytime there was a birthday she kept talking about it for weeks. 

Aru: Mamma, aaj Mehul ka birthday thaa.  Aru ne cake khaaya.  Aru ko cake pasand hai.
      (Mamma, today was Mehul’s birthday.  Aru ate cake.  Aru likes cake. (Yes, she refers to herself in third person))

Mamma: Wow!! Aur aapne Mehul ke liye birthday song gaaya?  Kaise gaaya?
              (Wow!!  And did you sing the birthday song for Mehul?  How did you sing?)

Aru: Haapy Birthday to you!  Haapy Birthday to you!  Haapy birthday to dear Mehul!  (starts clapping vigorously)

(She can sing only two lines.  And no, I didn’t forget to spellcheck.  “Haapy” is how Aru pronounces it!)

Naturally she had been waiting for hers and once in a while she would enquire “Mamma, Aru ka birthday kab hai?” (Mamma, when is Aru’s birthday?)  So, after a lot of deliberations, we decided to have a small kids-n-moms snack party at home.  It took me close to a week to list all the kids in our society whom we meet in the park.  We ended up inviting close to 26 kids (and 19 moms!) for our small snacks party.  Aru is surely not going to lack company when she grows up!  Suddenly our plan of in-house party seemed overly ambitious.

We had been terribly busy at work and with our recent shifting, so we decided to outsource all the arrangements.  Here are some snaps of the D-day.

The front door and the living room.

Baloons all over!

Aru inspecting and appreciating the decorations.

Aru cutting her birthday cake.

Time to open the gifts!!!

Time to relax after the games.

After the party was over, I was left feeling as if a tornado had visited our place.  Being a mother of a a teeny weeny dainty girl, I had no clue of what the little boys are capable of!!!  I’m sure any more birthday celebrations will have to wait till Aru grows up and really starts understanding…

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