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An apology to my first born child

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Yes I know, parents are expected to do what is right for the universe in general, and for their kids in specific. But, I didn’t know jack when I became a mom for the first time. In fact, I have no shame in owning up to everything I did wrong.

So here are a few things (I am pretty sure I’ll add more as I go along the parenting path) I would like to apologize to my first born child for!

1. Being overprotective

If some moms are called “helicopter moms”, I have been nearly Air Force One to you! I wouldn’t let you out of my sight for even a second. You’d sneeze and I would recheck all the layers you were wearing and trawl WebMD for information on all possible causes and effects. I’m happy to change five pediatricians until I’m satisfied I’ve found the right one for you.

2. Being a killjoy

Politely put, I was a killjoy for the first few years. I’d be overcautious of rolling down the car window, freak out about you jumping on the bed or sliding down staircase railings, make a big deal about letting you eat something not-so-nutritious… total killjoy.

3. You were my guinea pig

I cut my parenting teeth on you, and you’re the one I made all my first mistakes with. Right from when I took my first steps into motherhood to my entire journey, you were and will be the person with whom I do everything for the first time. And the success rate is not going to be perfect. From weather-appropriate clothes, most nutritious food, feeding patterns, right school, friends, play dates… trust me, my list will be pretty long with quite a few hits and misses.

4. Crazy expectations

Throughout your life, I will have high/weird expectations from you. Not because you are older, but because I will always believe you are capable of tremendous feats, and also because I know nothing better!

5. Hypersensitive to feedback

I will worry about and question my parenting skills when any feedback or advice comes my way. You see till now I had no experience, but I am not 100% OK with someone else’s either.

6. Going by the book

I read books, articles and blogs written on parenting styles, milestones, what to watch out for and what not. If you missed any milestones, you could bet on some of my hair turning white. You see it took time for me to be confident of my own motherly instincts and judgement.

On the flipside

So that was my guilt list of errors. But before you start wondering about why you were punished thus just because you happened to be born first, let me share some of the beautiful things about our bond.

1. You brought about the biggest life-changing event for me. I have never been more proud of what I as a human could achieve. You made me a woman from a girl.

2. All my first parenting experiences were with you. Your first smile, first full night’s sleep, your first tooth, first vaccination, first scraped knee… you bought in the first of everything.

3. I became obsessed with you. I am positive I have been called crazy behind my back because I have bored everyone with your pictures, anecdotes (which seem funny only to the parent). I’d give you weird funny names thinking they were cute. (Ok, this point might be better off in the mistakes list, but trust me I had only good intentions!)

4. You got the first and for the longest time, the best of me—my love, my patience, and yes practically speaking my physical strength.

5. You brought so many new relations to life—people become grandparents, aunts, uncles for the first time thanks to you!

As the adage goes, “Behind every happy kid is a mom who’s pretty sure she’s messing it all up!”

This post appeared on Huff Post India as ‘An apology to my first born child’

Image credit Pinterest

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I was told my child could not color between the lines. And it made me happy!

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For nearly two years I was told that my four year child could not color between the lines. And, has poor handwriting? Can’t take instructions you see.

So what did I do? Did I sit with her practicing formations and coloring within the dotted lines?

Nope.

Don’t spend hours trying to make her fall in the line. Instead, explore what she is inclined towards. And you’ll be surprised (and mighty proud) of what you find. Did you know that sea horse is the only male animal/fish to actually give birth? And that the giraffe is the only animal which cannot make any sound. I learnt this with my child who is fascinated with animals.

It could be blocks, story reading, animals,… the possibilities are endless because a four year old child doesn’t know the lines to bind her. Its been fed into our heads that we are good at this or that; not hers, at least not yet.

Unbridled she will blossom. Good handwriting & coloring never created a masterpiece. Being unique & willingness to explore new things did.

What do you want to be known for? Impeccable handwriting? Ok, maybe if you are aiming to become a calligrapher. Who says a good handwriting is important for success in life? Communication is important, not the writing. It is merely for the readers convenience.

A fellow mom was one day hastily summoned to the school and told that her 5 year old child was not following the traditional/teachers’ way of writing the alphabets. She had apparently devised a shortcut to the formations. The poor mom was at her wits end figuring out how to overcome this disaster.

I told her to book a table & celebrate with her husband. Her small child had done what we at 40 struggle to do. Reinventing!

So the next time you are told that your child has poor handwriting, thank the person, leave the room, hug your kids & be happy. You have a unique kid. Don’t force the kids to follow. Be brave to see & nurture the uniqueness. It’s an admirable quality.

Be your child’s first, last & best ally. Tell her she is unique & polish her sparkle. She will meet too many people wiling to tell her otherwise.

 

P.S. I have been told I suck at parenting. So pls exercise discretion after reading this. You see I am just trying to raise individuals. Not mini-me’s.

And by the way, after 2 years, my child did color within the lines. But can make a mean dinosaur too.

‘The true sign of intelligence in imagination, not knowledge- Albert Einstein’

This post appeared on Huff Post India as ‘I was told my child could not color between the lines. And it made me happy!’

Image credit Pinterest

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Become Interesting

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Have you noticed how some people are always full of stories & anecdotes. How they become the heart/soul of a party/gathering, and draw people like a magnet.

Ok, so lets become interesting. But how? These are people who have experiences, not, merely possessions. A new place, a new type of food, a new experience, that they enthral you with! Have stories to tell.

If in your last 10 conversations you have nothing new to say/tell people, you are in big trouble…. Take that as a sign and make some stories, have some adventures, life life, else you will end up with life passing by without you having lived it.

Take baby steps.

The easiest is by travelling. The journey itself will give you few starts, then the food you discover on the way, the people you meet, the place you stay in, the new places you visit, the photos you click……

Books are another way to go places before you visit them in person, and peeping into people’s thinking & minds before meeting them!

Whatever you choose to do, just start having fun in life….. That’s the surest way of making an interesting personality. Do everything you did before you became wise (or so you think), when you were a child & didn’t care if you looked silly wearing mismatched socks, just because you wanted to.

But why is it important to be interesting? I’ll tell you why. Not only because this will come handy professionally, but personally too.

Harvard said in a report that an important characteristic it seeks from applicants is that they should be ‘interesting’. What it means is that academic & extra curricular excellence is now the baseline, not a merit. You have to have an extra dimension to your personality to make you stand out.

In the professional world, interesting, lively people are more successful. They connect easily, have a wider social network & can easily fit into newer situations & milieu, thus have more propensity to grow.

Personally, these people are more open to change, are adaptive & open to risk taking, as that’s the part of their nature which makes them interesting. They experience live more openly, are less judgemental, don’t lose their mojo, and don’t get hit by mid-life crisis ;-D.

But why are we discussing this here? Well, because we should start early right? Open up your child’s horizons. Give her experiences, not just possessions. Encourage fickle mindedness (but in moderation). Let her try her hand at different things till she finds her calling. The process of elimination will eventually lead to the best fit, and in the course give her stories from the various things she experienced!