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Me and my daughter, we have a complicated relationship.
Volatile at its best. Turbulent too.
She’s just two years and a handful months but in all matters that matter, she’s the boss, the leading lady, the woman who wields the sword and what not. It doesn’t help that she’s the kind who is feisty, impulsive, impatient, stubborn and opinionated. It doesn’t help that I am short-tempered, impulsive, impatient and not-so-stubborn. It also doesn’t help that I’m rather rigid in my upbringing. I like following rules and would prefer if my kids learnt early on to toe the line. Shobby does. Lui doesn’t. Not only does she refuse to toe the line, she loves making a path of her own and following it with her head held high. No amount of talk, explanations, discussions, reasoning and scoldings work with her. Its either her way, or no way at all!!
Needless to say, I’m facing an uphill task where her upbringing is concerned. I love my daughter to bits. And I know she reciprocates as best as she possibly could. She’s the one who runs to me when I come back from work. She’s the one who gets up in the middle of the night to plant kisses on her mumma’s cheeks but hates being kissed back. She’s the one who wouldn’t think twice before going down on her knees and kissing my feet if I yowl after stubbing a toe. She’s the one who believes she is the sole owner of her mother’s lap. She’s the one who yells at anyone if they so much as raise their voices at me (in jest). She’s the one who has changed loyalties and claims she is now her mumma’s baby and not her Abu’s (Ha!! Hide under a stone BF. You’ve just lost your most faithful follower. Muahahaha).
But there are times when she tests my patience. Like when I tell her NOT to touch the plug point and yet, she directs her fingers there. I call out in warning, once , twice and thrice.She continues to ignore my pleas. Sometimes, I have to pull her back forcibly if she doesn’t listen, and then she bursts out in loud bawls , enough to bring the neighbours banging on our doors. There are times, when I have to spank her.
And that’s where the rift lies.
Because, unlike Shobs, who is immediately repentant, my little angel girl turns into a rebel. She glares at me, her chest heaving, lips quivering and yet daring me to spank her once more. If I do, she turns a defiant glare towards me which easily says that do what I might, she is not going to listen. Sometimes, when we have this glare-duel, she can make out the exact second when I’m going to give in and starts smiling cheekily, immediately relieving the tension. We both burst out laughing then, glad that the worst has passed. She collapses in my arms for a snuggle and I hug her back, hard. She hugs me back, just as hard.
As a daughter, she is everything I ever wanted, and more. As a child, she is everything that pushes me towards grey hair and early retirement! With my work hours, I’m not able to spend as much time with the twins, but what little time we do get, I make sure that it is well spent. So if I have to make castles out of bed-sheets after returning home at 9pm, I’ll do it. If I have to narrate new stories every time they demand it, I’ll do it. The good part is that I have a large household. There are plenty of people to look after the twins and teach them good stuff . The sad part is that Lui does not listen to anyone. Shobs does. He is the little lamb, forever trotting behind his grandfather. He is not bothered about me as long as he has his ‘dada’.
But Lui demands me to be there for her. So if she pees/poops, its only me who she demands should wash her up. If she spills stuff, she wouldn’t let anyone else clean up other than me 🙄 . She demands of me my time for her. To carry her around, to feed her , to play with her. To cover up for all those hours lost while I was at work.
A couple of days back, I came back home one evening and found her being naughty, talking back to the MIL. I scolded her a little too harshly. She turned around to face me and coolly said, “Mumma, aap jao office”. I was nothing but stunned. Stunned into silence. Into deep hurt. She doesn’t want me around her if I’m being strict. She doesn’t want to hear me if all I can emphasize on is discipline. She thinks she will be better off if her mother’s not home.
Clearly, I’ve gone wrong somewhere. Or maybe I’m not doing something right. Or maybe, just maybe, I’m being too particular about doing things right! Whatever the case, I’m still uncomfortable thinking about that evening. As usual, I’ve carted myself onto the guilt train and am wondering where I went wrong. The confusion stems from Shobby’s near-to-perfect behavior. He faces the same wrath that Lui does, but he’s quick to learn and correct himself. He is not adamant and stubborn (at times, mostly when he’s hungry, but never as a rule). If he doesn’t retaliate the way she does, then maybe I’m not all that wrong. Or maybe, the same method doesn’t work for the two. Just the thought of using a new parenting technique with Lui gives me the jitters. I’m at sea 😦
This morning, my darling daughter gave me another dose of her opinion.
I was taking a bath and she was pounding the door for me to come out. Obviously, I came out only when I was done. By this time, she was busy in the GMIL’s room, so I quickly got dressed, picked up my bags and went to the granny’s room to bid goodbye.
Lui looked up at me and said,” Maine bulayi thi na! Maine aapko bulayi thi na!”
“Yes dear, lekin mumma ko late ho raha hai aur abhi hum ja rahe hain”.
“Mumma mujhe nahin leti?”
“No baby. Abhi nahin”.
“Nahin leti??”, glares at me for a second, “Katti”.
And then she turns her back to me.
Goodness!! Wasn’t it just last year when I was holding her hand, encouraging her to walk? Wasn’t it just a year back when try as we might, the kids just couldn’t say “mumma”. Was it really that far back when they ate what I fed them and slept when we wanted them to?!
When did my child learn to show displeasure in this way? When did she learn to feel hurt herself and then inflict some on her mother?! When did my child grow up?!!
For all matters of reasoning, Lui is still a baby, a toddler. At two years, I don’t expect much of her. But its a shocker when I come across instances where her behaviour is more of an adult than a child.I know that girls grow up faster than boys, both mentally and physically. I have ample proof at home . But all I want is for my child to remain a child. A baby, full of innocence and smelling of baby powder. All hugs and kisses and warmth and cuddles.
I think I’m asking for the impossible 😦 . My demands are nothing short of demanding a time capsule to capture the kids as they are ! (which, by the way, is not a bad idea at all!!). Truth is, they’ll continue to grow. Lui will race her brother to adulthood. And I’ll have no option but to let out a deep sigh and rue the loss of childhood , the days of innocence 😦
Clearly, I’m in the pits today.
But this pic brings a smile to my face. It was taken a month back when the night air could bring out the goosebumps. Lui pretended that the blanket was her headgear and posed for her father –
I LOVE this girl, I tell you 🙂