My Temporal Lobe Hurts

I have a great memory for useless trivia. I have a pretty good memory for remembering everything my husband didn’t do but should have.

I also have a pretty strong recall for little things with the help of even vague-ish associative cues et al…but getting to the fag end of my 30s, my (declining) memory for numbers is killing me.

And the person causing bats in my belfry is none other than the offspring. As usual. Sighs.

We keep quite a few things under digital lock and key to keep him from giving into temptation and over indulging viz- iPad, t.v, Kindle, laptop etc but I’ll be damned if that isn’t coming back to bite me on the hieney.

With passwords for the phone, the Wi-Fi, the iPad, the Firestick, certain channels, it gets to a point sometimes when I need to unlock things, I sit with a blank look on my face, desperately searching in the memory banks for some kind of a clue to help me find the elusive #s; and no help is forthcoming. Totally a case of GIGO.

Earlier I had passwords, codes, credit card #s everything memorized and it wasn’t tough to recall them when needed and without too much prompting.

Now, my brain plays a Hot&Cold game with while I sift through data. Of course the process would be easier if I didn’t have a kid draped over my shoulder like a boa (imitating reptile and an accessory both), hissing in my ear, “Do you remember it Y-E-T??!!”

What would be best is if I could keep it unlocked and trust that agreements about t.v. time, play time on iPads were stuck to but that’s a bit unfair to expect from a kid when his parents are binge-watching Criminal Minds or Suits even though its ostensibly done without him being in the know.

But the brat knows us so well, when he sees the last played item on the watch list, he gives me a tsk-tsk look and takes the name of the person who’d have been watching the program and says, ” Someone was watching t.v. after I went to bed!”

I can’t begin to explain how amusing and confusing it is to be chastised by your child in a manner which he’s clearly picked up from you and then having to show your contrition even if you don’t feel the slightest bit contrite!

The things we do set an example for our kids. And while I try and set the aforementioned example, there’s a mini-me tapping his feet impatiently and saying,” Ahem….I’m waiting.”

Ye Gods!

Knowing When The Anvil Is Hot

People talk, a LOT, about teaching kids values, “good” things and how getting an early start is usually beneficial. I agree. To some extent. As parents, we often forget that while there are milestones that a majority of the kids attain at relatively the same time, there are outliers here as well. Some children reach certain milestones earlier and some reach them later; without any disability hindering them. It’s like the marathon or climbing something uphill…you’ll get there, but someone will always get their ahead of everyone else and there’ll always be the person who reached after everyone else. But they reached. And that should be celebrated. Especially with kids.

Now to take all the ambiguous talk out of the way and illustrate my point more clearly.

I have been trying to get MLM to switch off lights, fans when he exits a room for a longish period. Also to run the taps slowly and shut them off so water isn’t wasted. Same with food, take a small amount, finish it and then take some more. Basically trying to teach him to pace himself and also see to it that things don’t get wasted. But then crops up every parents’ biggest bugbear- THE WHY.

Why do I need to switch off the fan? What is waste? Why can’t I keep the water running as long as I want? The whys are endless and there’s a good reason for it- he doesn’t understand consequences yet. He has experienced consequences but he doesn’t know *what* they are. And usually the kind of consequences he’s experienced has resulted in a broken toy, a time out or a spank on his backside. Those are *bad* things to a child. They will try to avoid them but to get them to understand consequences of wastages of natural resources is a toughie at a preschool/primary school age.

Up to an age relying on the “Because I said so” response to their numerous whys has to suffice. Of course changing the tone and words of the phrasing help in getting things done. I’ve been falling back on, “Please do it because I asked you to”, “Please do it for me”  at times.

One of the most critical aspects of education is also knowing when to teach rather than relying mainly on  what to teach. As parents we need to have the pulse of the kids and know how much our child is capable of comprehending before we look at milestones set up by doctors and educationists and give ourselves sleepless nights thinking about where the child is lagging according to norms and guidelines. But those guidelines are important. They not only let you know what a child of a particular age is capable of, it also helps us understand how much deviation there is. Deviations help in identifying disability vs a mere delay.

I read this blog post from a mom I admire and whose posts I read eagerly. Her older son knows the names of birds I have never heard before. And not just knowing the names, he can identify them at any given point of time and can demonstrate that HE HAS ACTUALLY LEARNED something. A concept. And those are things which will stay with him always. So performing on demand and showcasing the extent of his knowledge shouldn’t be the main criteria for an adult to gauge how far along a 3-year old has progressed.

My child is very expressive and affectionate and his protective instincts are very strong. He is empathetic and champions the cause of those whom he perceives as the underdog or those he feels are being dominated. Sometimes he’s wrong in his perception viz an older sibling hazing a younger one isn’t always full of malice…you’re supposed to be pinched and shoved. But it’s quite a revelation for me to see him exhibit these facets of his personality at this age. What does a typical 5-year-old know these days anyhow? Spiderman? Lays chips? Ice cream and his alphabets. Basically still quite young and innocent.

This morning a few things made me smile and look at how my child processes information. He was trying to read the milk packet. He sounded the letters out phonetically- Mmm-Iii but by the time he got to L he said lollipop and said kite for K. He’s got his theory in place but a little tangled up. But he remembers. And what he remembers he will recall and eventually understand the way it’s meant to be understood.

We need to do more than just keep the child safe…we need to see what kind of learners they are, what interests them, what is fun for them. We also need to be aware of their intrinsic traits like compassion, affection and help boost them. A child can learn a good value later on in life too. He needs to learn what he’s capable of learning, to start with. The rest will all fall into place later on.

Here endeth the lesson.