The other day when we were walking and the toddler sees some one throwing a paper on the ground instead of the trashcan. She stomped up to the stranger and said, ‘Mummy says it’s a bad job! You will get a time out!’ Both the lady and me laughed at the cuteness and she graciously accepted her mistake and praised the girl. I beamed like a proud mother.
Then when in the night I recalled the incident to my husband, he aside from being proud and glad said something that made us think.
‘She is a sponge, isn’t she?’ he mused. Then as usuall as I do, for the next hour I was thinking about that one sentence. Sure she is a sponge who feeds majorly by observing us, her parents. I felt pressure like I never did.
I am no Gandhi. I am no Mother Teresa either. I have made my share of mistakes and I have tonnes of bad habits, I am sure I don’t want her to learn. I started thinking of all my usual day-to-day behavioral traits and what I usually say. Obviously, I have toned down a lot from my rebel teen colorful vocabulary.
I used to swear a lot as a habit but that also has gone down now with an occasional ‘Oh Crap!’ slipping out.
But that is the language. There is also a certain way of life that we follow, that we are imparting to her, sometimes knowingly and sometimes unknowingly. Like for example, being a non-vegetarian. I was taught it’s an evil. Now she doesn’t eat too. But I stumble to explain her reasons for the choice. Because I was never given reasons. There was no choice. But she sees a lot and observes a lot and asks a lot too.
Another is about the sexual preferences and how my partner always frowns on same sex relationships. I find it difficult to digest but I don’t really mind it. But the child will get my spouse’s skepticism, the sponge that she is.
Little things make me aware of how responsible I should be. She looks with those innocent wide eyes and takes in whatever I say without a shred of doubt or judgment. It has to be right, if her mother has said it.
Her mother just hopes she is right. Or at least even when she is wrong, she corrects herself and explains to her. I think as she ages, she will realize and I will make sure she realizes that her mother is after all a human too and will make her own set of boo-boos from time to time.
I hope she realizes that what her parents think is right may not work for her. And I hope she picks her own right way and still make us proud in the same way as she did as a 3 year old reprimanding the lady who didn’t trash a paper.
An erstwhile Quality Analyst, Sirisha Achanta, is now a full-time mommy to an adorable 2-year-old girl and a part-time writer. 🙂 She loves to dance, dream and read a lot!