Tuesday, December 23, 2008

Childhood and what it stands for.

Long long ago my daughter resorted to bed wetting even at the age of three and in order that she may not feel upset my husband said ‘It wasn’t you my child, I did it. It was me.’ So it was customary for her to wet the bed and call out to me and say ‘Appa has done it again!’. I’d pretend to get angry and she’d say ‘Never mind appa, don’t do it again.’ I’ve forgotten how she got over the habit but I remember she got over it before going to a regular school.

Years rolled by and grandchildren came along. We’d take our grand daughter Megha for evening walks. We’d invariably ask her to use the rest room at home before we left home and once again before she finished playing and it was time for us to return. She has the habit of waiting till the last moment and announcing at the most inappropriate moments that she wants to do ‘pee-pee’. The few minutes she needed to go to the rest room would not be sufficient and she would wet her pants. Or we’d be returning home and just when we’d be reaching for the door, damage would be done. Her dad being rather strict would scold her for not being careful.

Brat that she happens to be, she resorted to another trick. She’d suddenly want to be carried on my back. ‘piggy ride amma please!’, and I’d give in. It was not that I did not understand. I felt that a piggy ride would perhaps ease things out. But no, I’d suddenly fell something warm trickling down my kameez and the girl had done it yet again! To top it she’d tell me ‘please amma, tell papa that you did it!’. She’d further tease me saying that people on the road would think that I had wet my pants! Just like her aunt I’d think but would try to save her from her dad’s wrath. We’d both pray that her dad would not be in the basement and use the toilet there to wash up and rush upstairs for a change of clothes! And did I notice a suppressed smile on my husband’s face or was it my imagination? Those were time when I truly missed India where a child could be made to squat behind a bush to relieve herself.

I think one thing that has not changed is childhood. Children continue to remain children whether in America or India. At the park where we took Megha I regularly met other parents and grand parents. We were all from different countries and cultures but the children were the same. They played to their hearts content and had to be invariably dragged home.

‘Okay, I’m goin’ home’ I heard a Mexican lady say. “Remember to say hi to foxie when she comes out to play with you’.

I was reminded of the time when my mother/aunt would threaten to call poochandi. Another thing that hasn’t changed is the bond that children share. I have mentioned in an earlier post how my kids preferred punishment to being separated from their friends. They can fight verbally as well as physically. But try separating them and you are their common enemy. I hear that when my grand daughters (from two sets of parents) got to spend time together they were constantly quarreling for the same toy/book whatever. Priya gave her daughter Megha ‘time out’ and made her stand in a corner. Two year old Aarya went and stood by her side pulling a long face as if she was saying ‘So what if we quarrel. We are still friends’.
My only request to parents of little kids, particularly those in India is not to snatch childhood from their children. Let them run wild once in a way for ultimately they’re going to love you for it.

23 comments:

Smitha said...

This was such a lovely post. Reminds me to let me little girl be a little girl :)

Phoenix said...

Beautiful post indeed.

vishesh said...

lol poochandi and weewiliweenki ;) i remember those...

Mampi said...

THe Pee-pee thing had me in splits.
My son often does that. Though he wont wet, yet he always have me run about in a hurry when he needs to pee.

Anonymous said...

just curious... why the special request for Indian parents...?

Prats said...

That was a wonderful way of handling it HHG...
I know that more than the bedwetting...it is the shame the child feels after, that is very difficult to handle for us parents..
I agree with you, regarding childhood. Let them be...we might never have tales to regale them later if we didn't...our lives would be so much more duller...
Let them run, climb, fall, but the most important thing is that we get to see them smile...and i'd trade any timeouts for that one smile

Hip Grandma said...

smitha:Thanks and welcome here.

phoenix:commenting after a long time??Glad this post drew you out.Thanks.

vishesh:why don't you share your experiences?we'd love to hear your version.

mampi:children forget or rather ignore the urge while playing and then it becomes an emergency.

anon:In India competition is tough and in their anxiety to get their children admitted to reputed schools very often the child is coaxed to learn to read and write even before she/he can speak complete sentences.Parents are paranoid and end up being unfair to the kids.I heard of a young mother who locked her 3 year old daughter in a room for failing to make it to a prestigious school and relented only when the husband intervened.I know she loves her child and wants the very best for her.But this is pushing things too far.In the US parents are more relaxed I feel.

prats:i think there is nothing more humilating.In our boarding school children who wet their beds were made to stand in a corner of the domitory, wet sheets in their hands and got to use the bathroom last.I felt it was cruel.After all 6/7 year olds feel ashamed even without the punishment why humiliate them further?

Usha said...

I agree with you. These days they seem to have too little time to be kids - they start going to nursery school at 2.5 years! And by the time they are 8 they are already into the ratrace. let them enjoy what little they have.

Renu said...

truely said, and sounds so familier too,all the kids to same waiting till they cant retain and then running:)
I also tell my sibling to relax a little, as today's kids hacve become robos..coming from the school going to art classes, dance classes, then tuitions....In trying to teach them everything we are taking away their childhoos:(

rm said...

its holiday time..thanks for reminding

apu said...

awwww. "appa has done it again" - how sweet! Lovely post. Agree - its sad that children are being forced to grow up so early.

Hip Grandma said...

usha:Be prepared to turn the other way.It is tough when g'kids arrive.

Renu:I had written an earlier post on this.'Living Fossil' in Dec 2006 I think.

rm:Make the most of it.

apu:I don't blameparents.Tough competition and a lurking fear that one's child may lag behind the rest -it all contributes.Despite this I think children should be left free for some time at least.

Artnavy said...

the last line is so true

and everything in between especially your daughter's appa covering up for her is so SWEET

happy 2009 to you and your family

Hip Grandma said...

artnavy:with children having flown the nest memories are all i have.they sustain me in a way.happy new year to you too.

ugich konitari said...

HHG, What a great post, and although I am not at the grandchildren stage yet, i remember my children behaving the same way, and standing up for each other..... Isnt childhood wonderful !

Sumana said...

As usual HHG, awesome post. Very valuable lesson learnt. Somehow the guilt trickles down in the parents that they are letting off the kids and there starts discipline. But i also feel that they need to be let loose a bit, so that their personality emerges out easily.

Itchingtowrite said...

so cute....

The Kid said...

I wrote you an email about an idea. Let me know what you think..

Manasa said...

Awesome post :)

Reminds me of childhood days.

Hip Grandma said...

ugich:yeah childhood is wonderful.Granparents get to enjoying parenting all over again without the responsibility.

sumana:one has to balance and I agree it is not easy.BTW was it you or Suma that tagged me to reveal my dreams?I wrote abt dreams in a figurative sense but plan to talk of real dreams.

ITW:Thanks.You should know.

The kid:visiting after a long time?what are you upto?

manasa:Thanks.

Monika said...

awww like all ur posts loved this one too... brought back memories and

dipali said...

Just lovely, HHG!

Sands said...

Happened by your blog. Nice post. Brought back memories of accidents & potty training with my now 11 yr old baby:)