The moment I found out I was pregnant is the most cherished moment of my life! After double checking that I had read the result correctly, I ran to my husband to give him the news. He was ecstatic! And soon, we found ourselves wondering and dreaming what our baby would be like. Would we have a girl or a boy? Would the baby look like him or me? Would the baby behave like him or me? Whose interests would the baby share? We just went on and on and the thoughts kept us busy until the beautiful day, when our little one finally graced us by arriving in this world.
The first thing I remember seeing through the medical haze of the anaesthesia, was that my boy had a full head of wonderfully brown hair, just like me! Yay, score one for Mom! I was thrilled! And the next few months, while our little one was barely awake for his feeds and change, my husband and I kept a constant watch to see who he resembled most. Of course, the fact that he was an infant then and looked like one (read: like neither of us) hardly mattered to us. Our parents and relatives who came to see him too had their own wonderful ideas about who he resembled. And while everyone saw a part of themselves in him, we just chuckled at the human urge to live on forever through younger generations.
As our little one grew though, we could see more clearly whose traits he had. The first time I left him alone with crayons and paper, going to the kitchen for a cup of coffee; I was shocked to see on coming back, that the paper had barely a scratch, while the walls of the room were now alive with mesmerising art by my little Picasso! But before I could even think of something to do about it, I was pleasantly surprised and extremely happy to see that my boy was wielding the crayons with his left hand! Yes, score two for mom! My little one is a ‘lefty’ just like me! My joy knew no bounds as I ran to call my husband who was at work, just so I could gloat!
A few days later, our little one showed more interest in playing with the ball more with his feet than with his hands. Score one for soccer-fan Dad! But even before we could celebrate that, he brought me a book to read it out to him! Score three for bookworm Mom! And then around the time our little one started first grade, we were told he would need glasses. And that was sadly, score two for Dad. I say ‘sadly,’ because our little one – who had, till then looked like neither of us, but just like a chubby little five year old – was suddenly transformed by the glasses he wore; and started looking like a miniature copy of his Dad! So yes, score two for Dad; and that was just the beginning.
The beginning of an entire phase where he talked, walked and behaved just like his Dad. Even now, his mannerisms are a lot like his Dad. It’s natural, I know, as my husband is clearly his role model; and he wants to do everything like “a guy” and not like I did, in a “girly” way (his words) But he is also very clear (even vocal) about his likes and dislikes and displays traits that are neither mine nor my husband’s.
And I tell myself this is great! Because, if you ask me, as amazing and happy it makes parents feel that their little one is “just like them;” we cannot forget that the child is a separate person himself. He has his own likes and dislikes, he has his own interests and prefers his things a certain way – be it his hair, his clothes, his food – just about everything! And while I admire this, I cannot say it doesn’t hurt a little too.
Like, I have these amazing recipes from my childhood that bring back cherished memories every time for me; but when I serve these dishes to my little one, he just takes a bite, mulls over it a few minutes, and says “it’s good; but, can I have my crackers and cheese instead?” Seriously! Only I know what I go through at such times; when he makes a face at the shoes or the outfit I would’ve laid out for him; or when he barely tastes the raw mango chutney (my grand mom’s recipe I so cherish!) because it is too spicy for him (while he is happy to gobble pizza with jalapenos and even red paprika toppings); or when he refuses to rent out the books I have so painstakingly searched out for him and just rents out yet another Wimpy Kid or Big Nate from the local library instead!
But no matter what it does to me and my ego, I have realised that it is important to let him make his choices. They are, after all, his own choices; and if I intend to raise him to be a confident, independent and tolerant person; I will have to be tolerant with his choices first. So I let him choose the menu for dinner sometimes, or I let him choose what he plans to wear when we step out of the house (within reason, of course).
I figure, if I am not able to put up with his choice of shoes or food today, how do I expect myself to be able to accept his choices in life when he grows up? And I pray to the Almighty to give me the strength and the patience to bear with the choices he makes.
So, who does your little one take after? Or are you a parent who goes beyond that thought, and is happy to raise an independent child with his own unique set of interests and abilities? And oh, I’ve recently discovered that my little one is artistically inclined; so, yeah, I am waiting for that “score four for Mom” that I know is coming, big time!
Rashmi is a devoted mum and an avid reader. When she is not engrossed in a book or attending to the whims of her spirited offspring, she indulges in creative writing and blogging. She was a lawyer once, much before she surrendered to motherhood and took up writing. Today, she is a regular contributor to lifestyle, parenting and e-learning websites; and has created FindMyRead – a vibrant community of book lovers! To read more from Rashmi, visit her blogs Ramblings et al and Find My Read.