Parenthood, and all that jazz…

.. is all fine, but sometimes, it puts you in positions, where you keep wondering if you did the right thing.When all you can do is hope that what you do, works out for the best.. That the tiny life that is entrusted to you, is well taken care of..

Deeps had asked if we can choose our children’s friends.. I came across a similar dilemma last week.

Poohi woke up last week and started telling me about how her closest friend A has been ‘telling her off’ for various things. Things like ‘You drawing is just a scribble’, or ‘You are being rude’, when Poohi, according to herself, has no idea what she did wrong… At that point, I explained to her that maybe we need to find out what is happening, and why A feels like that. Although A passing judgement on Poohi’s drawing was unnecessary. I asked Poohi to go and play with other children – but she says, that A does not ‘allow her’. Now this seemed a little too much. So I said, why don’t you tell your teacher, and maybe she could work out things between the two of you? And pat came the answer ‘A does not let me, she says it is not allowed’.

I tried explaining to her that she has all the right to approach a teacher, in case she is upset about something, and that I would have a word with A’s mum. A’s mum is a lovely, approachable lady, so I thought I would speak to her first before going to the teacher. So that day at school, I had a word with her – and she was lovely – she said she would have a word with A.

That day at school, was fine, according to Poohi, and I started to wonder if I should have waited before talking to A’s mum. But Poohi was so distressed in the morning that I thought it best to talk, rather than not.

The next day was a Friday. Every Friday, one child in every class gets a ‘Star’ award  for doing something exceptionally well. This week, Poohi was the Star. She cam running to me and showed me her star, proud and happy. Then suddenly a shadow fell on her face, when she said, ‘But I am not sure I deserve it, because A said it was a dummy star on me – because I should not have go it’. It broke my heart to hear her say it, Here she was feted in the entire assembly by her teachers and she still does not believe it, because her friend said so!

All through the weekend, we explained to her how some people behave like that, and how the best thing to do is ignore them. She seemed to be better by Monday, and I decided to wait and watch and then decide what needed to be done. Monday evening, it was the same story again – A had been rather nasty to Poohi. She told her again that she did not deserve it, and kept taunting her the whole day. Poohi could not play with any other child, because apparently, if she did, A would go and tell them not to, because Poohi was rude. The poor thing was so upset and so very scared of A. We had a play-date planned(planned a few weeks ago, before all this happened), and she just did not want to go. So I had asked her to tell A that is she continues to be rude, Poohi will not come to her playdate – maybe that would make her see sense. But Poohi refused – she said that, saying that would make A angry and she would call Poohi rude again! She wanted me to tell A’s mum that we would like to cancel the play-date.

I decided to talk to A’s mum one more time on Tuesday morning, and also maybe to the teacher. On Tuesday morning(yesterday), it happened again. A told Poohi that she couldn’t wear the star because she was rude – and this time it happened in front of me. She did not realize that I was around. All Poohi had said was ‘Hi’. We had just reached the school grounds. So I told A that it was not right to talk like that, and that I would have a word with her mum about it.

Later when the children had gone inside, I spoke to A’s mum again, and she was very understanding, and shocked that her child was behaving like this. She said she would have a word with A in the evening. After speaking to her, I was again in a quandary. Should I bring this to the notice of the teachers or not.. Should I give it more time..  I had spoke with a friend that afternoon, and she strongly recommended speaking to the teachers. Because it happens at school, they need to know.

So I went in the evening and decided to have a word with her teacher. When Poohi came out, and I told her that we needed to wait back to talk to her teacher, she panicked. ‘No, A will be cross. This morning, she told me not to tell you, her mom or  the teachers anything, she will be cross with me’. That sent up red flags for me. A six year old, who already knows how to manipulate? She had convinced Poohi that no matter what she said to her, Poohi had to keep it to herself. The very thought sent chills down my spine. All I could do was thank my stars that Poohi still confided in me. I had her down and explained why we need to tell the teacher. Explained why A wanted her to not talk about it – because she knew that what she was doing was wrong, and that she would be in trouble if it came out in the open. Finally Poohi agreed to talk to her teacher.

I spoke to the teacher, and I have to say, that the way they handled it, made me feel so much better. The teacher hugged Poohi, and asked her not to worry. She said that they would have a word with A, and asked Poohi to come and speak to them, if she something like this happens again. She also told her that if anything makes her unhappy in school, she has all the right to come and talk to the teachers. It made me feel so much lighter, I just can’t describe it.

This morning, A’s mum made A apologize to Poohi – hopefully this will be the end of it. Hopefully, it will be the last of it. I am just waiting till the evening to know how today was.  Although if you ask me, I have a feeling that A has some issues of her own – I have a feeling that she is being targeted by some older children, and is perhaps implementing the same tricks on her friends? Hopefully her parents will be able to resolve them for her..

This whole episode makes me scared. It was all the more scarier because Poohi has been best of friends with A since the time she started reception in this school – 1.5 years back. All through they have been close. Just when you think your child is happy in her environment, something like this happens and shakes you up…

Makes me worry, and also gives me hope that we will find ways of handling it. There is hope that this will make Poohi stronger for the experience.. And the hope that she will find it in her to talk to me about stuff, even as she grows older.. That she knows that whatever might be the problem, we as her parents, are always with her…

The trials and joys of motherhood

There are times when I struggle hard to not be competitive with daughter’s milestones. Reading Sari’s post, reminded me of what I had been doing in the last few months.

I have been quite a laid back mother, in comparison to some of the people I know. I have normally let her have fun, learn things when she is ready for them. I knew people who taught their 9 month old, the alphabet or the numbers. I consciously tried not to do that. I mean, there is plenty of time for all that, isn’t there?

Motherhood, unfortunately comes with all sorts of self-doubts and second guessing oneself, doesn’t it?? There came a time, when I started doubting my methods. Poohi had started phonics last year in the nursery, and she had started writing her name – she knew the sounds of some letters, but refused to read. I would try to get her to read a few simple words, but to no avail. She would be too busy trying to get me to do the reading.  I would have not bothered, had it not been for some of my friends who told me that their child started reading all by themselves, by the time they turned four. Now that had me worried. None of these children had been exposed to books as much as Poohi had, and yet they seem to have learnt to read faster. She loves books, loves being read to, and yet did not want to read? What was I doing wrong? Their mums said that they would spend time every day teaching them to read. And I never did that. I was so worried that I was not helping her enough.  Husband said that I was being too hard on myself, and once she starts, there would be no looking back.

I started trying, but it never worked. She knew every story in every book that we owned and would just rattle off the story, without even trying to read it!  All she wanted was for me to read the stories to her. I was torn between trying harder or letting her be.  I did not want to be a pushy mother, but at the same time, did not want to ‘not push her enough’, if you know what I mean.  I was also scared that I might end up putting her off reading altogether, if I tried too hard. That’s when I decided to buy her a set of ‘Read at home’ books, that she had never read before. I told her that these books had to be read by her – I was not allowed to read it to her.

Every time, she expressed some interest in the books, we would sit together and look at the pages. Initially, she was more interested in the pictures, and then, when she realized that I was not going to read the story to her, started reading – just like that! She knew the sounds, and could easily read the words. I would help her with the tougher ones, but it was mainly her own efforts. Now, she picks up the books by herself, with no prompting from me, and reads, whenever she fancies it. Not just that, she also tries to read my books, and is delighted when she finds words that she knows like ‘and’ or ‘this’.I still don’t know if it was that new set of books that did it or it was just the right time for her, but I am just happy that she is reading, and is reading because she enjoys it, not because I am pushing her to read. Because she wants to, not because she has to.

There she is, grabbing a few minutes after breakfast this morning to read. I can’t tell you how much that sight gladdens my heart. I just hope that her interest in books and stories stay with her all her life.

And here is her little library that houses her books