Not about life’s ‘big’ parenting challenges, this one is about the little ones that have made me sweat. Here’s a ready reckoner from a not so yummy mommy who survives and learns something new so often about bringing up a kid
Trying to be a mother, one that is superb at it, hasn’t always worked. Those well versed in it tell me it hasn’t worked for anyone. But still, look at Instagram and Facebook and glowing moms, and you wonder if your list of the most difficult parenting challenges will find empathy! For I am far from perfect at tackling these impossibly difficult everyday parenting challenges.
Feed Vegetables to Your Kid
When you hold one’s mewling adorable little infant in your arms, you imagine he will chomp on broccoli, chew up carrots and stuff his mouth with boiled and sautéed greens like a health conscious millennial. None of that happens of course. All I have managed ninety percent of the time is a head strong, determined NO! So I trick him – by stuffing teeny-weeny bits of boiled vegetables in his rotis, mashing them to turn them invisible and then sing aloud like a deranged person while stuffing these in his mouth. And then you have paediatricians tell you sagely that you must give your child vegetable soup when he is unwell or has a cold/ fever. Would you have vegetable soup if you have a sore throat or killer cold? Practice and theory are far apart in this context.
Forget about teaching values and principles. Feeding your child vegetables is tough enough.
Listen, Learn, Repeat, Repeat, Repeat!
My child speaks reluctantly and little. Blame it on the absence of actual physical interaction with children and peers at school or other communal spaces. But he has learnt to do one thing on rote – obsess with a word, a phrase, a question or worse, a single line from a song! He will do it over and over again – till you are ready to hold your hand over your ears and yell at him. Of course, shutting children up never really helps much. They throw a tantrum and refuse to do the Next Essential Thing (eating, sleeping, peeing or pooping), making life even more difficult. Only Father Time and Mother Growth can tackle fixations and repetitions. I give up.
Gabbing with girlfriends or chatting up college buddies is fun for all of us. But have you heard a toddler or preschooler talk when they first learn to speak? Or when they understand the art of posing a question or a trick question? Initially, our boy’s tendency to say little had us, and his grandparents, and extended family quite worried. But when he did start speaking, well, shutting him up was not a task anyone could really handle. Children love to enunciate and speak out some words, using them in just about any context and doing so endlessly. I recall my mother telling him on a late night, to stop talking and go to bed. As if that would ever work! In the absence of school or time spent outdoors, children don’t tire easily. They have boundless pure physical energy. So when they start talking, or questioning, they simply don’t stop till they drop off to sleep. So be prepared for a lot of responding and replying, and do it patiently. It genuinely hurts their feelings if you get ticked off.
Besides these common challenges, our little boy sleeps like a 60-year-old. Which means, he sleeps very little; leading to us looking haggard and exhausted, and struggling to find time to get anything done. But when it comes to children, eventually they grow up, cutesy, sage like, wearing steely determined expressions as they plan bigger, more complex tantrums.
My attempt is to simply share parenting as it is, without the gloss of profit or brand focused content alone. Surviving the pandemic with young children must have brought challenges to all of us. We would love to hear from you and publish your experiences in a collated blog, for everyone to share and understand all that we have lived through this unprecedented, unsocial and locked down phase of bringing up babies.
(Feature image courtesy: Yan Krukov (Pexels)