Harsh Truths

TO learnt a rather tough lesson today- about life, death and how you can’t save everyone.

A pigeon had laid her eggs behind the AC unit on one of our window parapets. It was sheltered from other birds, the strong winds and still gave enough access to the warmth of the sun. 

In due time the eggs appeared and eventually a chick. We’ve been keeping an eye on le chick and seeing the day to day changes in him/her. But the chick was in the infancy stage still and not strong enough to fly.

Today TO came running to me to show me something “very bad” that was happening. A male pigeon was trying to attract the attention of mother pigeon and in the process, with all the flapping of the wings and the clawing that went on, the baby bird got shoved out of the nest and is now slowly dying.

It moved feebly in a rather pathetic creeping manner, trying to get away from the danger and managed to get itself further away from the nest. 

The mother flew away in the entire commotion and now we have a tiny life ebbing out on our window. It’s sad. And what’s worse is that due to the grills on our window we couldn’t access the bird and get it back to the nest and keep it warm somehow.

TO kept hitting the glass to shoo away the bigger birds but they kept at it and in time the baby bird was well and truly done for. And such is the unavoidable aspect of life- bad stuff happens, you don’t get to save everything and everyone you want to and yet there’ll be another nest here again soon. Maybe by the same mother bird. 

Resilience, circle of life or animal instinct, it’s all the same thing at the end of the day…you got to keep soldiering on. Or as Dory said, “Just keep swimming!”

Parenting Diaries: Lying…When To Be Concerned

MLM by and large is a fairly manageable child. He’s NOT docile neither does he stop and listen every single time but he’s not been sneaky or sly very often.

He celebrated his 5th birthday over the weekend and I found some of the toys brought out during the party had suspicious chunks taken out of them. There being no end to the kind of sticky situations kids can find themselves in, I asked him if he was the one who had done it. He calmly replied “no”. When I later found irrefutable proof that it was indeed he who had spoiled the toys I have to admit I got pretty angry. Not because of the toys but because he’d lied outright.

Now as parents, we lie to our kids without blinking an eye. We lie about Santa, where their old toys have gone, where people go to after they die or even how we tackle the question of death itself. It’s done out of two main factors:

1) Children, at a particular age, lack the life experience to understand everything life throws at them.

2) We lack the adequate ability to explain things to them about certain things because they actually require near-adult understanding.

But what I am concerned about is- where do I draw the line about lying? Don’t lie? Non-negotiable and no questions asked or depending on the situation and its gravity take a call?

No matter what stance Red and I take, life will teach him to tell fibs. To get out of dealing with tiresome people, to avoid doing something he’d prefer not to et al, to save himself from something uncomfortable…who knows! We do it so often.

With children in the formative stage it becomes so essential to watch our steps, words, everything around them!

So if I have to explain to him that telling a lying isn’t the best way to go, I guess I should start with telling him that the hugely expensive (and unnecessarily expensive also) dragon toy he wants isn’t really out of stock; I just don’t want to spend that kind of money on something that isn’t a bloody life-sized dragon!

Hard being a parent. Really. Truly. Absolutely!

Inconvenient Truths

The toughest thing I find at times is to explain to MLM what something actually is. Since he lacks the experience and often the vocabulary, it’s a bit challenging to think of ways to get him to understand it in a manner that satisfies him or makes sense to him. Some children accept a lot of things their parents tell them but MLM actually mulls things over quite a bit.

Little things like why he can’t be swimming in an unheated pool in the height of winter, how it’ll most likely cause a cold; why his father and I are using chasing him around the house to clean his nose when it’s runny and most importantly why t.v or other visual digital media is curtailed after a point. Usually there’s a villain in the story  viz moi but by and large there are questions coming up which I have to gloss over or fall back on euphemisms for him to stop his line of questioning.

Just today he suddenly asked why Littlefoot’s mother was sleeping and not getting up after the fight with the T-Rex. Till now he’s never watched anything where death has even been remotely implied and since he’s only 4, I haven’t even thought about how to explain those kinds of heavy concepts to him yet. Whatever cartoons he’s watched where the bad guy’s been defeated, he’s understood it as them having “gone away”. Whether that’s a permanent condition or not has not been touched upon. Come to think of it, I don’t know if such small children know and understand the concept of permanence either. Their little minds are usually so crammed with things in their immediate surroundings, their likes and dislikes.

So when he raised the query about Littlefoot’s mother I asked him why do you think she’s not getting up and he promptly replied, ” T-Rex did ouchie! Dinosaur got ouchie there and fall down. Now dinosaur sleep.”  Phew! That’s a good place to start. I wouldn’t know what to do when the “die” issue comes up.

With children what they see is what you get and I guess that’s why he can’t understand how it is when I occasionally put my contact lens on…he keeps trying to get me to put my glasses on…thinking I’m unable to see 🙂

When he was a baby, he’d go and check under the beds, behind the toilets, everywhere possible when he wasn’t able to locate his grandparents after they’d left. He just couldn’t understand how something was *not* there or was different or in an unrecognizable form.

All a part of growing up I guess…I just hope I survive the phase of “whys”.