…………….or Picasso’s for that matter. Neither do I look for a Shakespeare or an Edison.
I’m not sure what I want. But I guess I’m pretty clear on what I do NOT.
I do NOT want my kids to start on their PhD thesis when they are yet to come out of their diapers.
I do NOT want to prophecy what my kids will become when they grow older.
I do NOT want to start planning strategies for their career paths.
I do NOT want to initiate cultivating their hidden talents.
I do NOT want geniuses.
I want my babies to be babies till the time they are old enough to group with other babies in places called as play groups.
I want them to retain their innocence (and NOT ignorance. There’s a difference) till is is impossible to stay so.
I want to extract the maximum of this time which is fast receding. There is too much information around, too much exposure, too many influences. Its a matter of time before they start questioning everything we say or do. The era of blind faith is obsolete. And I want to hold on to the last vestiges of that faith as long as I can , before I have to face the ocean of unanswered questions.
Am I an ostrich?
I’m hiding under the sand, hoping that the impeding change will never come. But it has to. I know that. At some levels, I’m okay with it. Resigned to my fate, is more like it. The sands of time will blow my way and I have no option but to go where it goes.
I’m not in favour of pushing my kids in that direction. At least, not now.
So the twins, at 2 years and 3 months don’t know their alphabet yet.
They can’t count from 1 to 10. Heck, they can’t count. Period.
They don’t know any rhymes or care for songs.
The MIL heard a neighbours child reciting nursery rhymes and was appalled that our kids didn’t even know Twinkle-Twinkle Little Star (its a different matter that both my kids beg me to stop as soon as I start reciting the poem!). Another relative’s kid can sing songs and dance. Good for them, I say.
I’m glad that kids these days are picking up knowledge so fast. And in this fast paced world, it doesn’t worry me that my kids lag way behind other children. No, I’m not worried at all. So my kids don’t know the alphabet, but they can tell a tiger from a Hippo. My kids don’t recite rhymes, but they prefer Animal Planet to Cartoons (they hate cartoons. Go figure!!). They can’t count, but they know when its time to feed their Big-dadi her medicines.
They do a hundred new things everyday and I marvel at their intelligence which is their own. I’m yet to ‘teach’ them anything. What they know now is of their own merit. Little Shobs knows each thing has to be put back in its place once its work is done. Lui is deft with her fingers, capable of closing bottle lids or taps, untying knots, clipping her hair-pin or peeling garlic! The twins know how to read our mood and behave accordingly. They know that the way to their father’s heart is different from the way to their mother’s. They know how to avoid the BIL when they have done something naughty and how to twist their mother and dadi around their little pinkies. The only dance they can do is hop around shouting “Balle Balle” and that too, when the mood strikes them, which is mostly when any news report is playing on the tube (they don’t react to songs, which makes me think they are not so much musically inclined after all 😐 ).
I know the kids are clever and sharp. They have to see us doing something once and are quick to pick it up. Maybe that’s why I’m not so worried about their academic delay. Studies will come. It is unavoidable. And I know that I’m going to be rather strict when it comes to their grades. I’m no Amy Chua, but I take education seriously because I can see the vast difference it makes to one’s life. I know I will compel my kids to do better, but only when I know they can take up that challenge. Right now, in my eyes, the twins are still too young to take up any challenge other than the ones related to potty training or brushing their teeth. These are hurdles in themselves. The kids know it. Sometimes, when they are able to control themselves till the time they reach the loo, they are praised. When they don’t, we talk to them sternly about it and ask if they know where they should pee and where they shouldn’t! The twins are battling these small (for us) obstacles everyday. It takes effort on their part and for that I’m grateful. Because they put in that effort. Because they know they have to try.
I don’t really look forward to immense fame and fortune for my children. Both are spoilers (adults get spoilt too!!). I want them to develop capability. To learn how to earn, to nurture their knowledge, to respect other’s. I know that if they have any talent, all I have to do is be open about developing it. If they have it, they will make it. I can provide the means, I cannot provide the drive. The only thing I might pester them for , is good education, because that opens a lot of doors for other choices in life. I really don’t know what will come tomorrow. I do not know what kind of challenges the kids will face, what kind of peer-pressure, what kind of environment. Some of their battles will be their own and I can only be a silent spectator on the side, directing my best wishes (and prayers) their way.
A lot of my sentiments arise from the fact that my parents today rue that they didn’t let me pursue my dreams. I don’t blame them at all. They come from a generation which believed that the only way to the top was to be a doctor or an engineer. There was hardly any exposure to the finer arts or alternative careers. There was a time when I was into designing dresses and hand-stiching them for my dolls. I was all of 11 years old. But I had ideas. Loads of them. I would make gowns, hats and even feather boas with real down. I had a huge box full of stuff such as cloth pieces, buttons, needles, beads. Those days, we didn’t have any internet. We didn’t even have cable television (it came some time later). My ideas were my own. The parents saw the talent for what it was, but were reluctant to let me continue in the same field. One other reason could be that the exorbitant fees and hostel charges of designing schools were beyond their budget. Dad was already supporting a large extended family plus his own on his meagre Army salary. I think, the margin to satisfy my skill just didn’t exist. All they could think of, was to make their children doctors or engineers.
Sadly,none of us became any of the two. But all of us did well in our chosen careers. Now when I look back and see my parents upset over how work and homely responsibilities leave me with very little time to pursue my dreams, I feel bad. I feel bad for them, because they did the best they could, which is far more than what most parents do for their children (and daughters in particular). I know that they have given me something more, the ability to pursue my dreams without being dependent on anyone. If tomorrow I want to start a business and create my own line, I can earn and save for it today. I don’t have to ask the BF or anyone else to chip in for me. If I still have the drive, I’ll make it work. If I don’t, I still have my ability to earn through my current means. It is difficult for me to explain this to the parents. They wallow in guilt in spite of me doing well. Because they know, this line was never my first choice. I don’t want my kids to grow up and feel the same about me as I do about my parents.
Lately, Lui’s been going around the house saying, “Mai doctor hai”. Everyone fawns over her and claims loudly that she will indeed be a doctor. But I don’t see it that way. I smile indulgently because I know she doesn’t yet know what a doctor means. Whether her interests lies in that direction, I wouldn’t know now. So I resist from predicting. I guess it helps me to keep a broader perspective on what she might eventually gravitate towards. It is not my path I have to focus on. Its her’s. And the same applies for Shobs too.
I’m not blind to the fiercely competitive environment today. People having kids as old as the twins are running across the city, filling forms for play groups or nursery. Some of the kids are younger than the twins. I confess to doing the rounds myself. Some schools sold themselves by saying that they teach the toddlers the alphabets and how to write. I gasped in shock, where as they took it as a sign of my amazement. I was appalled that they made two-year old kids hold a pencil and write the letters. WHY?!! Why not let them do all that when they join a proper school with formal education. If I teach them to write now, what will they learn when they are in nursery or KG? This craze of teaching children stuff from one or two classes above does not bode well with me. Why can’t we stick to letting them be kids at least till they are in Play-group. Isn’t that what the word play-group means?!!
This post turned out to be longer than I had anticipated 🙂 . It’s just that I’m tired of answering a hundred questions on why I haven’t already admitted my children to a school yet. Sometimes, I humour them by saying that I never want to let the kids stray away from the home and hearth (here I strongly wish we had the system of home schooling as in the USA). Sometimes, I just feel like giving them the finger!!
Frankly, I just want my kids to be the kids they are. I’m not looking for the greatness that may or may not be in them. If it exists, it won’t stay hidden. If not, I still love my babies and will make sure they get a decent education. Maybe, when they are old enough to read and understand and visit these pages, they might realize that I haven’t strayed much from what I’ve put down here. That I’ve done the best I can for them and that all I want from them is to say that they love me 🙂
What else does a mamma want anyway?
On that note, to all the women (and specially those with kids) reading this, Happy Women’s Day 🙂