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Can We Bubble Wrap Their Childhood?

The other day, Mr. Hubby & I were having a small tiff on the safety features of S’s pram. I had carefully scrutinized and chosen a pram which seemed safe enough with its sidebars cushioned. However, little S’s enhanced sense of mischief had found a bar on the back side to bang his head against. Before I knew it, Mr. Hubby had bubble wrapped all possible open metallic surfaces of the pram. It now looked like a new pram straight out of the showroom, all bubble wrapped.

That’s when the thought struck my mind, “Can we bubble wrap our children’s childhood?”

Parenting is a situation nothing can prepare one for, except parenting itself! During my pregnancy, we used to visit the children’s park every evening and spend some time looking at the kids playing. As we looked at the kids joyously playing with sand, we made tall claims of not pampering our child with unnecessary luxuries and trying to keep him/her close to the nature. We had spent a childhood climbing and falling from trees, playing outdoors in extreme weather and we wanted our child to be as rough and tough as us.

Ironically, the very claims we made with much confidence, vanished into thin air as soon as I delivered little S!
Our relatives never told us, but I’m sure they would be secretly thinking “This couple has Obsessive Compulsive Disorder”, for the sanitizer had become our best friend! Seeing our obsession with keeping our house dust and germ free, even spring cleaning would shy away in embarrassment. Even if I had to feed little S in the middle of the night, I would first ensure I used the sanitizer.

And that was not all…

So scared were we about infections during teething that we ensured not to leave our child even once on the floor. Instead, we created space for him on a hard bed. We even tried using teethers that could be sterilized each time, but when little S rejected them for colourful toys; we found amazing substitutes in cold cucumber, carrot and apple. My mom in law was surprised at how the lazy me sterilized the feeding bottles each time, even at midnight and once even scolded me when I thought of sterilizing the rattles that S often tries to put in his mouth. The last time S had a cold, his paediatrician was so hounded with my questions that she told me one can’t keep the child in kavach and kundal, safe from the common cold virus!

While Mr. Hubby and I battled extreme weather of Delhi as kids, sans the comfort of air conditioner, little S is an AC baby and wakes up if the AC is switched off at night. The million dollar question now is, “What made us change our approach the minute our baby was born?” I think about it several times myself – Maybe our education and awareness is to be blamed. There is a plethora of material on good parenting available online which increases awareness about the possible infections and diseases. But what about the parents who don’t blink an eye while sending their kids to play in the park with dirt and mud? I am sure every parent wants to keep their child away from any infection or disease.

Friends who have been there done that give us another perspective. Most of them tell me no matter how infection free we keep the child; she/he is bound to fall sick once the schooling begins. That makes me wonder, “Till when can we keep our child safe in the cocoon of a sterilized environment?”

Yes, I am a sanitizer mom. I don’t know whether I am right or wrong but motherhood is best driven by one’s instincts. Perhaps going with the old school of thought and leaving the child free to explore the floor would increase his immunity in the long run, even if it means frequent infections now. But as a mother sitting in the waiting area of my paediatrician’s clinic, I know that terrible feeling when my child falls sick. Each time my baby sits on the weighing scale, every increased gram feels like good marks on my report card. Taking extra precautions comes to me as a conscious choice rather than putting my baby at risk of infections. I know there is a big bad world that my child will have to face sooner or later, but the mother inside me just doesn’t let go…

Shaivi says – Banker by day, blogger by night – that’s me. After a decade of dabbling into hospitality, corporate communications, training, employee engagement and banking, motherhood is the new role that keeps me on my toes! Nothing gives me more happiness than bringing a smile on someone’s face and learning something new each day; and blogging provides me a platform to do that. I blog at Shaivi ka funda. So here I am, to share my experiences as a new mom and get insights from experienced parents.