Thursday, February 14, 2013

Children's Logic 101

It has been a little more than four years now as a mom. And in those 4 yrs, I understood that children have a phenomenal thinking power. I always thought that children are too little to understand what we tell them. But life in the past couple of years has taught me that the right mix of patience, firmness, letting go and spending time with a kid will help a child in assimilating what an elder wants them to. That also makes the kid more curious. S is an extremely inquisitive kid and hence questions people a lot - Why can't the moon and sun be together in the sky? How can a caterpillar become a butterfly? How can I become tall without eating any food? Why did mom and dad not take me on their earlier vacations? Why does KKD grand dad have a mustache?Why does mom do magic  (straightening) on her hair? Why does Hanuman and other gods have earrings? 

But along with this understanding capacity children too (like adults) are blessed with selective hearing (A's teacher calls that silent defiance)...Right now A is in the silently defiant phase (he started being so after his 2nd birthday). And off late, he is getting a lot of timeouts in school because of that nature...I have never had much trouble with S in general; except for two avenues - toys and food. There is nothing I can say that will get him to like food or put toys away. He will have some reason or the other to NOT eat food and to NOT put his toys away (He takes his legos to the loo too!) Though, S has gotten to the next step of applying his logic in different situations and coming up with solutions. Below are some examples of his logical reasoning...
#1 Growing up (and ‘growing’ small)…
Whenever S acts up or is busy in a conspiracy with A, we tell him “Siddhu, you are teaching bad things to your brother. If you want to be a good boy, you cannot teach bad things to him.” (Though most of the times, it is the opposite). On Friday (06-Oct-2012), S and C were having a conversation and he told his dad,
“Dad, right now I am a small big boy and A is a baby boy. In a while, my brother and I will become big like you and Amma. And then, you will become like me, a small big boy and Amma will become like A, a baby girl (He meant the sizes). When that happens, you cannot and should not teach Amma any bad things. OK?”
#2 No Puttaparthy Granddad…
I have been working on S’s eating ever since he turned 1; this was another technique. I divided the food into spoonfuls and gave a name to each spoonful. And he decided whose spoon he ate first, second and so on…One day during summer of 2012 (S was 3 yrs old).
One day S was having his meal (yellow lentils and rice) and I was dividing his food into spoonfuls – the usual order is Akhi, Mom, Dad, grandparents (all 4 of them), his favorite toys , his favorite relatives etc. That particular day he said,
“Mom, I don’t want Puttaparthy Tata’s spoonful. He is not in our house; so, I don’t want his spoonful. I will instead eat Swami’s, McQueen’s and Mater’s spoonfuls…”
I was shocked because he always says that Puttaparthy granddad is his favorite one. But at the end; all that mattered to me was he ate his food without much fuss (though it was his favorite food – muddhapapu annam)…J

#3 Don’t love Ammamma.
One day while S and I were having a conversation I asked Siddhu, “Do you love ammamma (my mom)?” Without any hesitation he replied -
“No, I don’t like her because she never comes to our house in USA.” (Though she came for both my deliveries, he said this… L …Poor Ammamma.)

#4 So Sweet …
One Sunday night (3-Feb-2013) I was making phulkas for dinner. And whenever I do so, both my boys want their turn in rolling a couple of phulkas. Since they are too short to reach the countertop, they drag dining chairs (or toddler chairs) and stand on the chairs to reach the countertop (Here, I must tell you that the credit for this idea goes to 2-yr old A who has been doing this ever since he was 18 months). Both of them had their fair number of turns and hence a satisfied A was off playing around. S (who is a keen observer) was still giving me company in the kitchen. Suddenly he said to me,
“Amma, today is a Sunday and you are making rotis. But do not make rotis on Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday, Thursday and Friday. You can make rotis on Saturday again. Even though I like rotis, I will eat rice or pasta. Because when you are flipping the roti with your hand, your hand will get burnt. And I don’t want your hand to get burnt.”
It was so sweet that he said such a thing. But later thoughts also made me feel that it might have been one of S’s trials to escape from food.
P.S. When the roti puffs up on the flame; S always says “Mom, look the roti became a balloon.”

#5 I am all alone
My friend (Michelle) and I went shopping to Walmart with both the boys on the night of Thanksgiving 2012.  C was busy shopping elsewhere (@ Target). So, Michelle and I decided to split the boys and each of us stood in different lines – S went with Michelle and I took A along with me. While Michelle(and S) were in the line for Christmas trees;
S to my friend (with very sad expressions on his face): My daddy left me and went away long back. Now, my mommy too left me and went away. Now, I am all alone in this huge Walmart store. I am all by myself. Who will take me home? How will I get to my mommy, daddy and Akhi?
My friend: Siddhu, I am there to take you home.  I’ll drop you at your home.
Siddhu (very sad): But, you are not my mommy. And you do not have a car seat in your car. So, you cannot drop me home in your car.
Being Thanksgiving, there were lots of people in the queue who could hear the conversation and all of them (including my friend) burst out laughing. Michelle later told me “Oh My God!  Sai, Siddhu has changed so much. He has become a big boy and is all naughty…He said all these things and I was scared because everybody around could hear what he said - especially with all the rules around parenting in the US..."

Oh my dearest Siddhu….I just cannot express in words how much I love you and how much of happiness I wish for you…

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