This is going into the category of a bloglet viz it’ll be brief.
There’s a book my husband bought me once the brat started pre-primary…it’s called How To Talk So Kids Will Listen And Listen So Kids Will Talk. Since the book did not mention anything about how to talk so husbands will listen and stop leaving wet towels all over the place; I decided not to do much about this book reco.
I already knew then and still know how to talk so my kid would listen- dress like a giant lollipop, have Play-Doh in one hand, the t.v. remote in the other and preferably enter riding on a dinosaur!
Maybe then….and maybe Utopia is just around the corner! Pshaw!!
The brat has his little friends. They can be quite a handful from time to time.
One of them came over a little while ago and was practically nose-to-nose with the not-small t.v set. When I asked her to move back a bit, she scooched back barely half an inch. So I asked her to move back a little more and pat came the reply along with little arms akimbo, “if you don’t let me watch t.v. from here, why did you keep the sofa so close to the t.v.?”
After I did my goldfish impression viz mouth opening and closing my mouth wordlessly a few times, I remembered that I was in the role of the responsible parent and told her that it might spoil her eyes if she kept watching television like that, she again answered with a, “no! and glared at the t.v to come and spoil her eyes if it dared!
I don’t think the television will be taking up the dare.
Courtesy Facebook’s memories I get to know about how and what I was thinking not only on a time a specific time in the past but also how I was feeling. And when I wrote this post I was a bit more of an anxious mother, fretting about my kid’s school, academic “career” as it were and basically uncomfortable about not knowing what lay ahead. Fast Forward two years I’m still sipping at the font of wisdom that is Life and learning loads while my kid goes to school. Here’s how it is…
- A child will learn at their own pace no matter what!
- A teacher who loves kids (genuinely) will probably be able to teach more through affection and warmth rather than another more knowledgeable individual who is distant or doesn’t form relationships with the kids.
- Digital media, chalkboard, flashcards are all props…native intellect needs to be stirred and awake for learning to occur.
- Making things interesting is all fine and good but it helps that the biological age increases and life experiences help kids understand why they need to learn.
- Getting a good night’s sleep and cutting off from anything academic goes a long way in learning taking place.
- Physical activity- silly and unstructured or properly regimented aids in learning as well.
- Learning can come from various sources provided it’s pitched at the right time and the right way.
- Parents need the teachers’ presence more than the kids…just to be assured that all’s going as it should.
- Taking a small step back from policing the child (even with all the best intents in the world) is a fantastic thing to do while they’re below the tweens.
- Reflecting on what were turn-offs and stumbling blocks while we were students helps empathize and give the child space to assimilate their learning material.
- Accepting that there’s a Bell Curve and your child will grow into a more permanent place in it, helps be good parents as well.
- Trusting the people you entrust your kid’s physical, emotional and overall well-being to and yet realizing our role is constant in the whole scope of things.
- Acknowledging that improvements- slight, steady or sporadic; are still a step in the right direction give you a good night’s sleep.
Long story short? The AC bus and the pool helps because trappings are important. But a teacher who makes sure your kid has a balanced meal daily and who can come back and share positive and negative feedback with indemnity goes a long, long way in knowing how to be supportive while your child learns about life. Be it from a tablet, a workbook or just from a walk in the park. Because a big part of being a parent is taking a backseat while your kid gets the controls of life just right. You have to deal with not always being able to call ‘shotgun’.
Here endeth the lesson.
At this time, if you Google Ahmed the results that will come flying are only about the teenager who was mistaken for a terrorist by a supposedly over-cautious, over-anxious, overzealous school. But it seems to that there are again, two sides to every story.
Ahmed Mohamed. Who is he? Just a person of color? A teenager? Or an individual from a religion that’s widely misunderstood, reviled and feared? How about we put them all together and add a device to the mix which does look like many bombs I’ve seen in papers or on television and you have a huge faux pas which is trending on social media and making an unlikely celebrity of someone who should be playing ball like other kids his age and not have to shoulder this media circus.
Now this is my personal viewpoint entirely. Was he wronged against. Yes. Undoubtedly. That’s been proven. Was the school too hasty in branding him a terrorist or even thinking of him along those lines? Again. Yes. Were they wrong in thinking what they did? Now that’s the gray area I can’t skate over.
The last few years have seen a devastating rise in school shootings, racial profiling and anti-Islam propaganda in the United States. How do I know this? Well pretty much every source of communication is putting that message out real-time.
Teenage perpetrators of hate crimes, homicides are inexplicably on the rise. So from where I stand, when a child of a religion that some loonies seem to speak for and act as vanguards of; makes a “device” which looks less like what an innocuous clock ought to and more like pictures of bombs left on sidewalks cafes, libraries, parks across the world; it is understandable that his gestures, his actions, and ultimately he and his device will be feared and misunderstood.
I mean didn’t the Commander-in-Chief of the United States attack a country that left thousands dead, on intel that’s yet to be proven accurate, about weapons of mass destruction?! Fear psychosis or just plain old fear of the unknown is a terrible motivating force. Unfortunately, Ahmed became a casualty to it and underwent things he shouldn’t have. But let’s not be in too much of a hurry to condemn those who suspected or misunderstood the boy. They haven’t crossed the point of no-return just yet.
Maybe they should have tried to be the adults that they are and tried logic, relied on their knowledge and understanding of the kind of person Ahmed is. But the times we live in warp a lot of things even if they are benign and warped they may remain.
When I mentioned my point of view to my husband, he smirked and said I would fit in well in Texas. His minimalistic way of saying that I exhibited trigger-happy, redneck inclinations. See? Stereotypes are alive and kicking every which way we look.
But I still believe that while reparations may not be enough or even possible for Ahmed from the town of Irving or his school, as he grows up he might eventually understand what led them to treat him as public enemy #1. If he doesn’t, he might consider asking his parents to fill him in seeing that they are from Sudan. Even if they might not have lived in the ‘shoot-first-ask-later’ conditions, they will still understand turbulence, in the world and in the human mind.
I had another Ah-HA! experience this morning while “attempting” to explain to MLM why something is desirable and why something isn’t. People (parenting experts, those whose kids are no longer a pain-in-the-ass and those who are blissfully childless) usually say that it sets a bad example to communicate with a growing child using largely negatives viz “NO”, “NOT”. “DONT” et al. However, given that the vocabulary of most children who aren’t prodigies or savants of some kind are largely rudimentary till the middle school years, it becomes a tough job navigating the world of communicating what you want with what your child can comprehend.
But I have finally realized the biggest challenge I face day in and day out while trying to bring this boy up- I have to be an adult in the face of his childishness. And therein lies the rub. I no longer know how to be a child and he’s not reached that stage where he knows anything else but how to be a child.
Just a few minutes back, I had another locking-horns session with my offspring. Reason? He’s been using a turtle stencil to draw outlines on an otherwise pristine ivory colored wall. Again.
The first time this was noticed and commented upon, he apologized. In a flash. And went off to do whatever it is he does when one road to mischief has been shut down. Today when I noticed the second drawing I called him to ask why he had drawn on the walls again when he knew it wasn’t appreciated at all. He simply replied that he wanted to. No defiance. No attitude. Just a simple statement of fact.
And that in nutshell is how children usually are. While some are more compliant, for reasons known only to them, others are more willful in the sense that they are guided largely by their whims. A state that many older people fall back into in their advanced years.
But try as I might, I couldn’t explain to MLM why I was upset. He finally came up with a solution of wiping it off with water. But the crux of the problem escaped him and it entirely escaped me how to clue him in.
As adults we live with and in cliches. We stay in the lines. It starts by learning to color in them, writing within in, standing in them and also driving in them. We don’t always turn into lab rats or hamsters in their wheels but we become regulated. And can also see the benefits of such a life for its opposite is chaos in some form or the other.
But a child, especially one right out of early childhood is all about seeing his or her environment as a giant canvas, playground or anything without boundaries. They want to color furiously all over the paper. Never mind that the dam fruit they were to color got buried under the strokes. They want to scribble on walls because that’s the largest unending surface that surrounds them everyday. They want to climb higher, use the bed as a trampoline because everything that gives them a sense of freedom, even briefly, is exhilarating. Never mind that you’ll be replacing the mattress or the bed springs will poke through before long. It’s just so much more fun than just calmly lying down somewhere and sleeping.
And this is why I blogged this. Right here and now. So when I’m about to have an aneurysm tomorrow or day after from whatever my son wasn’t supposed to have done but did so anyhow; I can take a quick peek at this post before my head blows up. Hell! I’ll have to clean up that mess too so I might as well read these pearls of wisdom and count to a 1000 and keep telling myself there’s always school and the next summer holidays are a year away.
I wanted my first post in the new year to be witty, funny, tongue-in-cheek but I guess I’ll be falling back on my old form of ranting about my kid. My forte in life et al.
This morning my darling ray of sunshine switched on all the lights in my room at 2:37 am and tapped me on my face till I woke up; to tell me he could feel the germs in his stomach moving around. Yikes.
I thought it was time for a visit to the loo and suggested as much, while scrambling from the bed and trying not to fall over the Batman figurine that mysteriously ended up underfoot or getting tangled in the bed sheets. But no. Apparently it wasn’t about going to the loo at all. My brat couldn’t sleep and had been thinking about the rumblings in his tummy and decided that a middle of the night bout of calisthenics would ease his mind and body.
So there I was, puffy eyed and puffier-faced with a severe case of bed hair, trying to focus myopic eyes on a 5-year old who was exercising in front of me and who wanted to discuss his tummy germs at length.
After pondering about tossing him out of the window and eventually nixing the idea, I managed to get him back into bed so we could discuss the way ahead. It seems he knew the course of treatment- no doctors but quite a bit of medicine, the yummy kind. And of course, no school. NATURALLY.
Kids are funny creatures. Their minds work in mysterious ways. They process information, look at things in a manner which is unique to their ages and bent of mind. Those were the things I was trying to tell myself as the hands of the clock crept closer to 3:00 am and the verbosity of my kid kept increasing.
Finally, I did the only thing that made any sense. The only thing that was a viable and legal resolution to the entire situation- I woke up his father, passed the buck and went off to sleep in another room.
I think that’s what I’ll try to do in 2015 more and more- react less. Not fight against the inevitable or the inexplicable. I’ll figure out how to tackle things and if I don’t succeed I’ll pull in an unsuspecting person and pull an escape routine on them 🙂
But seriously. Happy New Year blosgosphere peeps. Have an excellent year. May your thoughts and words never fail you and may you end up on more and more people’s’ reading lists as time goes by.
Isn’t that what it all boils down to in life?
It isn’t always celebrating the things that go well or in accordance with our plans or even making our peace with the things that don’t. It’s finally just existing with what IS.
Sometimes we are able to do it gracefully and other times it takes a lot of plodding and prodding to get through each day.
There’s a saying by Oscar Wilde that people often smugly quote- ” There are only two tragedies in life: one is not getting what one wants, and the other is getting it.”
I’ve found that while tragedy might be too strong a word for it, it does seem difficult to comprehend and accept ,what you sought out, opted for even isn’t all that it’s cut out to be or even worse…it’s not what you want. Is inadequate.
So you shuffle the deck a few times and hope the next hand is better than the one that has you staring in bafflement.
Or you chuck the cards up in the air and don’t care if they scatter all over; since it’s mimicking life in doing so.
And some of us painstakingly make a house of cards. Trying to balance each card over the other and anxiously watching whether they stay up or come tumbling down.
In the end you either end up with a steady house you used up all your cards in making and are proud of or you decide to call it quits after you reach a plateau and are still left holding a few cards for later.
It’s all about playing with the hand you were dealt.