I found this somewhere and I instantly knew I had to do a post around it. I see a lot of mothers around me, who are always hovering on their children, especially when they are infants. And I seriously detest it. I strongly believe that once the child has started sitting up or crawling or walking around the house; you need to learn to give them some space. In fact, my little one use to play in his play gym on his own even when he use to be much younger and could barely even turn. Yes, I agree that one needs to be there to supervise because they could have a bad fall and really hurt themselves – but that is SUPERVISION only! You don’t need to constantly prod or talk or call or hold or overreact.
A friend’s mother-in-law shrieks in panic each time my son goes even slightly closer to her precious grandson. She fears that they might hit each other or scratch each other. Now that is a bit too much! How much are you going to protect? Or rather, what are you protecting your child from? It is only when they fall do they figure how to hold on their balance without falling. Similarly, only when they mingle and interact with other kids or animals or things, do they realise how human interactions work.
One needs to let their children be on their own sometimes!! Not for anything else – but to experience and witness magic yourself. My child has done the most surprising things on his own, especially when he thinks no one is watching. ‘Stacking the rings’ – the most common toy, that almost all of us have played with – we had bought home long ago. It used to be there with his other toys, and we never really sat down to teach him how to put the rings on the handle. Yes, unconsciously we have stacked them in front of him a lot of times. But we thought he was too young to do it himself. But one fine day, in middle of some other play, he put two rings into the handle. First I thought it was a fluke. But on prodding him to do it again – he did it again! That is when I realised that he had figured it out himself. I was so excited and so was he. He also realised that this is something he has accomplished on his own. So my point is – why take away that happiness from your child by always being there on top of his head – making him feel that they are the ones doing things, when will I reach there?
The same thing happened when he started self weaning without me even trying to teach him to eat on his own. I had this habit of making small pieces of roti or pancakes and placing them on the tray of his high chair. One fine day, he started trying to pick it up to put it in his mouth. Once again, for us it was a WOW moment – our ten month old was eating on his own!! We then started continuing this practise on making small pieces for him, to encourage him to eat on his own. And it is so unbelievable that my little one, who isn’t even one year old – eats things on his own almost all the time. And that too when he was exposed to food only much later compared to others. We were strictly on exclusive breast-feeding till six months and after that also – it took me almost two months to get confident about his outside food eating schedule and patterns.
Coming back to creativity and boredom – this Generation Z just doesn’t want to get bored. They never want to commute without being glued to their mobile screens. I remember coming from Santacruz to Vile Parle via train during my college days – there was this one point, just above the Milan Subway, from where we could see the runaway of the domestic airport. And I would wait to watch it each time I travelled by train. And even now, if I ever commute by train and pass by that point, I remember that feeling very distinctly. These days, who bothers to look outside the window – it is a metaphor in a way to – these days who bothers about someone else or nature or life! Gone are the days when castles on the beach were made with so much detail and care! These days kids just surf over the subways! Pun intended! Technology is great! Internet is greater! But social media addiction isn’t the greatest of all! Air to breathe and water to drink will never be replaced completely by videos to watch!! And it applies equally to over possessiveness – we bind our kids to us and then we let the world rot. So what is the point? The greatest of seekers have always stressed on the virtue of inquisitiveness and exploration of the world and life in general. If we are going to take the sole responsibility of protecting and entertaining our child – we are taking away from him his freedom to soar higher than our imagination. Life and life experiences can be greater for your child than you – and one must never ever come in the way of their life or development.
P.S. My posts have a tendency to drift – I start at something that is so simple – a day-to-day thing that I notice – and in my journey of writing it down – I myself discover the resonance of it in my life in the bigger context. And that is what I want to put across – that it is these small-small things that we start doing as mothers very early that are wrong and misguided – we are risking some scars that could be life long. So watch your actions and mind your head!