Little Women – A Mom Explores Life with Her Daughters as They Grow into Little Women.
Posted by Sourced from infinithoughts on November 19th, 2014 and filed under Relationship
One day, for the sake of my daughters, I decided to keep aside so many things that mattered to me a lot. This was no small step for me, a free-spirited woman. Today, I’m a humble stay-at-home mother.
My little girl is not into sharing. She is a zealous guardian of her toys and games, stuffed animals and lots more, which of course she never plays with. But when another child shows an interest in, say, one tiny stuffed kangaroo, my darling snatches it away. I wonder if I should browbeat her into civility. Very often, I don’t. But I worriedly visualize her as a selfish little one and I brood over it. So what should I do with my child? Send her to a play school! Deep inside I felt she should be sent to a Christian school, though I talk about secularism, tolerance and virtues of all religions. Call me a hypocrite! Finally I decided to send her to a place where children would learn a few things about social behavior. And of course, Lauren loved it there. Like most other kids, she too is not fond of rules and schedules, but she loved being there for the toys and snack hour. Giving her snacks that she doesn’t enjoy has forced her into giving and taking thereby mutating genes. Or a fixation of a selfless gene!
During a long holiday she wanted to attend a painting class, because her pal was doing it. I don’t have much to say about it for it all seems so obvious. Their friends influence them.
Lauren, five, is no shrinking violet. The other day, I saw my little darling try to hurt her playmate. She pushed him down and was about to kick him in the wrong place. I called out to her from the window. She smiled a cherubic smile and poked him with her toe just to let him know what was on her mind. I shuddered to see this. But in this world, where the powerful and crooked love to bang into people and knock their molars loose, my little one should learn to strike back if not stay away. And I didn’t intimidate her.
Lauren knows exactly what she wants. I know she is fond of lollipops and chocolates. But I just can’t bribe her into doing something with chocolates. And those are proud moments for me.
A mom explores life with her daughters as they grow into little women.
During story time Lauren will do all the talking. An occasional low murmur is all she expects from me. When I try reading out children’s stories to her, she interrupts saying, “Animals and trees never talk. They can’t. Even if they do, humans can’t really make out.” I glow with pride realizing her brilliance. She will seal her lips only a few minutes before she sleeps when she was a little friend of the fantasy world. This certainly interests me and I thank God for she is my merry little soul, who is also a natural raconteur always good for a couple of laughs. I also wish to record my daughter’s stories on tape. Every parent should take time to read quality children’s literature to kids. Even as I read to my little one, I fantasize my daughter’s first letter to me.
However what I believe is this: if she tells a story, she is the best storyteller. If she paints, she is a painter. No gallery or critic needs to sanction her or anyone as such.
‘Food time’ always seemed to be a ‘not so good’ tussle because, I force her to eat. Today I enjoy this tough duty of mine. Making her eat what I want her to is a fantastic moment in my life, obviously because I believe that’s the best thing I do as far as her physical well-being is concerned. This hard part of my job will continue till my daughter’s taste buds get used to my recipes.
When both of us are in the right mood, I coerce her into believing that love can change almost anything for good. It is like, you show love to your pup and it’ll do anything you want her to do. Sure, Lauren has started believing in being kind and compassionate and takes it in her own style just right for her age. Of late it has started to pose a challenge to me, for my little girl is kind and compassionate even to stray animals she is not scared of. So I got myself a solution I thought to be elegant. In spite of feeling guilty of confusing and intimidating her, I simply showed her pictures of stray animals harming children. Is it good to keep quiet and let kids learn as they grow up? This is a thought that every parent would chew on, I suppose. Of late I’m forced to adopt and adapt to a queen and her two kittens.
I hate liars especially ones who know the art better than I do. For so long I thought Lauren doesn’t know what a ‘lie’ is. One day as I sat down with a friend’s family for an evening chat, their small son dropped down a china dish. Just then Lauren came to me screaming, “I broke it.” That was to save that little boy, her friend from my silent anger, I knew. But did she know that she was lying? A benevolent lie! That was a transforming moment though I was shocked at this instinct of hers.
My little girls have inherited a selfless gene. Going by my family history that gene must be a result of mutation. They help me realize that if we love someone they should be made happy even if our happiness is or isn’t closely tied to theirs. When they play games, they are willing to lose to benefit their friends, to avoid a quarrel or make them happy. Trying to figure out if this attribute would help them in the future I’ve developed the dirty habit of chewing down my nails.
I know my girl loves shopping like any other kid. Each time she picks up a dozen bangles, a few earrings and foot-length shiny skirt. And she never waits for my approval. With one single glance at all these I know she has the uncanny ability to pick the perfect colour combinations.
I note down all the places where my darling plays. When she grows up I’m sure she will find great interest in seeing all the places that she had played in as a child. I know this for sure because I still get lost in wonder when my mom points out the trees I had climbed and the hedgerows where gathered wild flowers as a child.
Whenever we take a walk out, I yearn for the wind to blow, for then I see my daughters at their happiest moments. They run wildly. The wind ballooning out their frocks and whipping their hair into tangles is a wonderful sight I love to watch with equal joy.
And as Lauren makes new friends, I take it on me to remind her of her first friendship and cherish old friends and memories. A complicated mom! I’ll do it knowing that someday, somewhere my girl would gather as a grey-haired woman with all her friends and stockpiled memories.
As the years go by, my daughters would be busy with teenage concerns. Friendships will form. But by then, I hope they prefer outings, reading and writing, music and dance and yoga and meditation to cocktail parties, dating, boyfriends and dance floor. Just as dance floors collapse, life and family too will, if we parents appreciate the western influence, which I view as a cultural shock, a tragedy and a comedy. Should we let go our dearest sons and daughters knowing well the repercussions?
My younger daughter Barbara is three and a half years old and she goes around the house searching for her dad. My elder one gets frustrated when her ‘Papa’ doesn’t come on demand. The idea that papa is out to make money to feed and clothe them doesn’t go well with them. They gave me a valuable lesson that for a company or a firm, I’m just a worker but to them I’m an idol.
My husband’s work schedule is very demanding and so I just kept aside my thought of going to a job after my daughters grow up to be put in a after-school care centre.
I promised myself that my prime job should be to pay attention to the years when my girls are young and needed me the most. Like every other child a time would come when they prefer to spend time with their friends. So, I make my bond now. My daughters assume I know everything. They also think I can do anything that makes me proud and happy.
Until very recently Barbara bruised her knee she believed that I could make it right by kissing. I’ve got something most other working women miss. If I wish to, I know I can make money. If I don’t get to visit another country in the next ten years, I hope there is always another chance. But these few precious years between 1 and 12 when my girls are articulate and affectionate, go by fast. No titles can replace the times when my daughters hugged me to say, “I love you.” No money can replace the times when they leaned their head on my chest and fell asleep. And I also know that no costly car will make up for being there when they need me most.
Lauren asks me dozens of questions, most of which I can barely answer. I understand that my best of helping her was to ask questions that allowed her to realize things herself.
Lauren is a very protective sister too. And I teach her to be so. For instance, one small boy has been hassling Barbara quite often in the park. Lauren has always been an angry spectator not sure of how she is supposed to react. And I go to Barbara’s rescue. One day I asked Lauren, “Can you take him?” she smiled. The very next evening Lauren gave him an idea of how strong she is to protect her baby sister.
It happened during one of Barbara’s birthday party. Every kid was enjoying a bowl of ice cream. Lauren took her spoon out of the ice cream bowl, licked it clean when she saw a girl rush out to see a boy waiting outside. Lauren insisted, “He’ll wait. You go have your ice cream before it melts.” And the little girl obliged. This was Lauren’s way of showing upstart that she is the boss.
Today I sit in the balcony wondering if I’m giving my children the best of their childhood in an urban set up. No brook, no copse, no hedgerows and no orchards; above all, no friends to just laze around on holidays.
I dream of nothing but my daughters’ world. I hope and pray that I live long to follow and enjoy their accomplishments – good grades at school, successes at games, college admissions, diligence at workplace, career achievements, committed social service and loving women.