I just read this post by Kiran
and it reminded me this family. I had refrained from writing about this because I didn’t have any child rearing experience. Not that I have a lot now.. but..anyway…
So, we met this family when we moved here.They invited us over for tea once. They have 2 kids- the older one -almost 4 and the younger one 6 months(at that time).We both love kids,I was pregnant…so were more than happy to accept their invitation.We spent over an hour looking for age-appropriate gifts , bought a cake for the hosts and were on our way.
When we knocked on the door,we were greeted with a loud war-like cry.DH told me it was the kiddo(Lemme just call him Kiddo).The Dad opened the door and there is the kiddo running around in the living room,throwing around some blocks as he does that…The Dad tells us, he is just excited because we have company. We think -Oh cute.
We gave them the gifts.. kiddo grabs his gift and excited tears open the packaging and starts to look at the toys ( we gave him a beach bucket with all the accessories for castle building and bubble making) .Excitement over, he starts to throw everything .. at the wall, at us..at his parents and even at his younger brother. and we are there dodging the flying blocks. I looked at DH..was this the wrong choice of gift? But it said ages=3+. Well, we’ll know when our munchkin is 3+ and we get that gift for her.
Next,he grabs his brothers gift ( a musical turtle)and starts to bang it on the floor. All the while parents are just watching, smiling.Neither one attempted to stop him.We just smiled.When bored with all the banging..he decided it was time for kickboxing practice. Kickboxing and running.He starts to run around the living room again, kicking all the chairs and their occupants.And his favorite spot to hit was the belly.I spent the rest of the hour shielding my belly.as we got up to leave, he got mad as to why we were leaving and started with first punching his dad in the belly, and then DH .It was then that the mom belatedly realised that I was pregnant.. and scooped him up to stop him. I kept cribbing to DH all through our drive home.He shushed me up saying”Its their kid, surely they know how to handle him .May be if there was a kid his age, he would behave differently”.So, I kept quiet. We met them again on a couple of occasions and it was the same.Even when there were kids his age,it was still the same.He would then channelise his energy into beating them. And the parents still didn’t try to stop him,even if he was wreaking a havoc in another person’s home or hitting another child.
The last time we saw them was while I was still at the hospital,after Aadya’s birth. We knew of their arrival, from the loud shouts and banging on the door. The nurse had to come and stop him, while the parents just smiled and said..”Oh he is so mischievous.” Once they were the in the room,all hell broke loose. He tried to take a look at the baby,started shaking the crib and almost toppled Aadya out of the crib,DH steadied the crib just in time.Again the parents did nothing to stop him all they had to say was-“Ohh he loves to look at babies”.Screamed in Aadya’s ear to wake her up..I asked DH to just take her back to the nursery.I didn’t want my baby to end up with a broken ear drum or worse. Baby out of the way, he started to focus on other stuff..”OHHH Camera..”he starts to throw it in the air…I yelled at DH( poor guy) to “take the camera away from the KID!!”All the parents had to say was- oh, he is not allowed to touch our camera so he is excited to see yours. Yeah Sure! Next he took the lid off of my dinner plate. DH put it back,he took it off again.This time DH told him No! and off he went to explore other interesting things in the room.He found the nurses call buttons near the door. And started pressing them,turning the lights in the room on and off.The mother is still sitting, talking..Father is outside holding their baby. I told the mom to ask him to stop …and that’s when she disinterestedly tells him..No kiddo don’t. and continues chatting.He doesnt stop,I point out to her again, he is playing with the buttons again,then she finally gets up.By then kiddo has spotted the crackers on my bedside table and wants them.I offered him some.And what does he do- opens the packets one by one and drops the crackers on the floor and crushes them with his shoes.All the mom has to say is..”Oh ,the hospital staff comes to clean the room everyday ,right!” I am like WTH!!!But even before I can answer her,Kiddo has toppled over the water pitcher,on the bed. That’s it..I had had enough.I just told her-“I think Kiddo is not comfortable right now,why don’t you guys go now.. and come back some other time.” She mumbled something about him being tired..and said goodbye.Needless to say, we haven’t heard from them after that.
I dont blame the kid in this whole thing and nor am I being judgemental.Kids will always be kids and its their business to be naughty .But at the same time,its our job as parents to check them when they are wrong,reprimand them for bad behavior and if need be even smack them on the butt! I know after reading this post DH and so many others are going to say”How can you say all this,when you are not in their situation?” No,i am not in their situation, and I cannot change their situation but I can surely do something about it ,where my baby is concerned. And thats what I intend to do.Even now when we go out to eat with others,if Aadya gets fussy,one of us gets up and paces outside with her..so that atleast the others can enjoy their meal peacefully.If its just us and she is very fussy, we just ask for boxes and pack up the rest of our meal. If she is acting stubborn and just screaming (read throwing a tantrum) to be picked up,I pick her up, try to catch her eye and talk to her.. that does seem to distract her and make her forget why she was crying in the first place and then happily put her back on her play mat or wherever she was. Does she really understands what mommy is telling her?I don’t know. Has the angry screaming reduced?Yes!
Will I be able to do a good job in mommying her?I dont know..But what I do know is if she is going to act up when she grows up,she is surely going to be put in her place.If she is being mean to other kids,she is going to get a big speech from Mamma and Papa and if need be even a smack on the butt.I am not going to just stand there and smile and not say anything. How well we do at this? I guess I will have to do a follow up post on that in about..3 years.
Edited to Add:- Before I get bombarded with emails and phone calls from Aadya Fan Club,I just want to assure you all that she gets her share of hugs and cuddles.The “not picking up” is because over the last few weeks ,she has got too clingy and so its just an attempt to break the habit. Because now it has reached a stage when she wants to be held all the time.. even when she is sleeping; the moment I put her down,she stretches and wakes up!