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’  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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5 Responses to “Praise my child? Not me.”

  1. Reena Says:

    It is just a phase that will pass. Food is very low in the priority of toddlers. They have so much to explore and so much to do. Most toddlers are real busy bodies so they don’t have the time to eat. I had the same experience with my son. Before he turned 1 he used to eat sambhar rice with a gusto. Put “tadka” in anything and he would eat. Now he runs a mile if he sees mustard in his food and expects me to take out all the small black things in his food. But he is becoming better as he is growing older or rather I’m becoming better at blackmailing him into eating 🙂

  2. hey! i didn’t mean praise her till the listener wants to hit you over the head… I meant as mothers we are all proud of children and their achievements. Its a shame that we now cannot do the natural thing and talk abt the good as well as the bad. we have gone to the other extreme in our effort not to come across as boastful… and i am very impressed by all you feed her.. my brat is the fussiest little creature ever…

  3. Deepa Says:

    I loved this post! Every time I tell someone that my son does something, he immediately proves that he does not 🙂

  4. littlenotes Says:

    Reena, generally I don’t worry much about her lack of appetite. I just sigh, blame my cooking and tell Aru that she’d have to get used to my bad cooking! 🙂

    Mad Momma, I got your point. But, what Deepa said, applies to us as well!! 😀 Well said, Deepa!

  5. Reena Says:

    I should put a comment on Mad Momma’s blog about competetive parents, but decided this would be a better forum for my group of friends.
    My son turned 3 at the end of last year and was moved to the early childhood class from the toddler class, or “baby class” as he scornfully calls it these days. A neighbor came the other day and while chatting she asked if he could read and write. My mouth literally dropped open. For God’s sake he is only 3 years old and I’m grateful to God that he can talk in sentences. But I did not have the courage to say that to her and as a result ended up hearing how she made her son’s( 6years and 4.5 years old) practise writing and they can read and write well. I wish I had a soul of a teenager and could roll my eyes everytime such idiots opened their mouths.

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