We adults give conflicting messages to kids, who are unable to interpret the same and end up getting confused. This leads them to a situation where they decode the message the way they are comfortable doing so.
Sometimes the conflicting messages comes from parents with one parent saying one thing and the other parent opposite either knowingly or without realizing that he / she has just disparaged the message given by the other parent. At other times the message comes from the teacher which may be different from what the parents give. Anyways enough of gyan! Let us go back to our story of the day. When K decided to fight a war against junk food.
Here you go:
Toddlers in home are great to have intelligent conversations with provided you take them seriously and rise above the babbling that most of us like to do with kids. I was talking to K, my nephew who had some food issues that he was trying to fight on his own. But then the matters became more complicated with his teacher jumping in the fray.
“Mamajee do you know burgers, fries and Pizzas are junk food and you become fat if you eat junk food?” he asked me the moment I entered the room. I could quickly gauge that this is a serious matter and I need to listen carefully.
Before I could respond he continued.
“My mam told us that pizza and french fries are junk food and we should not eat them.”
“Yes, your mam seems to be right,” I said, after a deep nod for I was not sure which side this camel is going to sit. But when did she tell you the same?
“Arey Mamajee first listen to me, you talk too much, also coke and pepsi are junk food and we should not drink them”, he continued his speech and also repeat a dialogue that normally I tell him “You talk too much at times”.
Once he was done with his speech on junk food I thought and then I said, “Well, then you should stop drinking coke and pepsi and drink the milk your mother gives you.”
“Arey Mamajee, problem is not milk. Problem is my mam forgets what she tells us in class and gives us junk food.”
I could smell a conspiracy theory and chose to wait for details rather than interrupt and be told by my 4 year old nephew that “I talk too much.”
“So, Mamajee, we went to school picnic today and mam has told us that we will be given lunch by school in the picnic, so my mother has not packed anything for my Tiffin.”
I was not sure what could be the issue with that, there is a school picnic and the school authorities are providing lunch (for which they have charged the parents in advance). But the bombshell was about to explode.
“Do you know Mamajee what my teacher gave to all of us in the picnic to eat?”
I only had a dumb question mark on my face…
“The teacher gave us a box which had a burger, fries and a cold drink “
So what did you do? I asked him…
“Mamajee I told my mam that I will not eat junk food as it is bad for health, so my teacher told me to eat it once as it was picnic day, but I told her no. Here on picnic you are telling me to eat junk food, and then in class you will tell me not to eat it and scold me that I ate junk food.”
I was proud of the 4 year old kid who decided to take a stand and stood up to his teacher who was giving conflicting messages to the innocent minds.
But this is not the end of story. We soon forgot about the same though K remembered it and used it to his advantage soon.
It was a family get-together and all of us have collected at our place. Soon it was decided we will order Pizza for dinner. After we have ordered pizza I remembered that K does not likes junk food. So I jovially teased him.
“Arey Mr. K, what will you eat? We have ordered Pizza! Do you think we should make some Khichdee for you as you don’t eat Pizza?”
But K was unfazed at my jest and coolly replied:
“Mamajee, since all of you are eating pizza, and I don’t eat pizza so I have come up with an Idea, which will make pizza good and I can also eat it”.
“And how do you plan to do it Mr. Einstein ? Convert a pizza into something good?,” I interrogated him.
“Arey it is simple Mamajee! Since Pizza is junk food, I will remove all the junk on it like tomatoes, spinach, and other vegetables on it. Then without all the junk pizza is just a simple roti, and roti is very good for us. Problem solved! Mama does not need to make khichdee for me”.
All of us were in splits at the junk food logic of the kid, who just a few days ago has come home without eating his lunch as he deemed it inappropriate because of it being junk food.
But the kid is learning fast and has sound logic. I plan to use it next time my wife tells me not to eat Pizza as it is junk food.
Sasha and Prasad Np are proud parents of 2 girls whom they fondly call Princess (11 yrs in Feb 13) and Pinkette (4 yrs next month). He wears many hats after taking a break from being corner office critter for a long time. He is now entrepreneur, blogger, photographer, traveler and an investor in startups with unique concepts. He blogs at DesiTraveler and can be reached at Facebook and Twitter.