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Parenting Diaries

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Cars….
I mean, toy cars. So many of them, in many a colours, in many sizes, strewn all over the house, in each and every room. Some under a bed or a cabinet, some enjoying the weather in the balcony, some in the washroom awaiting a bath, and very few in their rightful designated place, i.e.  inside a drawer. And the ones inside this toy-drawer mostly are all broken martyrs of my son’s tyranny over them. He, who is now turning five, has been collecting these cars, rather making us gift them to him ever since he started wobbling. Never understood this boy fascination with cars and wonder what did boys play with..in the times before toy cars were  invented.
**
Nevertheless , every day I make an attempt to collect all these cars,  dump them in the drawer and every day I find them scattered all over again within a few minutes  of clearing them off. It has become one more of my never-ending household daily chores. But  on some days, I get frustrated and decide to discard some of his cars while he is away from home.
I…  make up my Mind.
**
But even before the time to discard comes, I find my son making a pattern by placing all his cars in  a particular sequence. He makes these formations like a square, circle, rectangle, triangle, rocket, straight line, small to big or big to small, whatever that hits his imagination, before he has even got introduced to Analytics. I observe him gathering cars from all the rooms, placing them in a unique sequence slowly and gradually, murmuring instructions to himself all the while, till it forms a neat formation. After he is done, imagining that they are all neatly parked in a parking lot, he looks up and says “Mama look at this”. I see his pattern and smile with pride and then I see his triumphant face. O Boy! My Heart melts.
And my Heart changes my Mind.
**
No trashing takes place and I happily carry on my routine of gathering and dumping. While this little game of Heart over Mind keeps recurring with me in so many other parenting situations as well, sometimes  in reverse. Like  when my son joined a junior soccer camp for 4-6 years bracket. Barring the first day, he was always hesitant to go for the soccer classes. Though I managed to convince him and took him for all the classes, there was no  enthusiasm in him to go out in the ground and play. He would mostly be quiet, sitting on the ball, reluctantly dribbling when instructed and always found a reason to take breaks.  Finally one day, he came up to me with drooping shoulders, a tired and sad face after the class and said “Mama, I don’t like football, I don’t want to play, lets go home”. My Heart went all out to him.
**
Feeling that I should not be a forceful parent, I gave into my Heart, told the coach that the next day, being the last day of the month, would also be my son’s last day at the classes. The coach tried convincing me with a, “Give it some more time” but I was firm. Next day, while my son was at the ground, I got thinking, analyzing as to what could be the reason for my son not liking this camp. Maybe he is too young, maybe the coach is not good. But the other kids of his age are playing and playing well under the same coaching. Then maybe he is feeling neglected, maybe he hasn’t been able to make friends, maybe he gets bogged down by the competition, maybe he hasn’t completely understood the game as yet, maybe it is too early to withdraw and maybe if I withdraw now itself, he will develop a phobia and never return to this sport. “Give it some more time,”  began ringing in my ears. The Mind was now acting tough.
**
Seeing my son play slightly better than other days, my Mind finally overtook my Heart. I was now hopeful and determined and paid the fee for the next month.  What started after this, was teaching him whatever little I knew of the game, showing and explaining him the sport on You Tube. Also and most importantly, the coach increased his interaction with him and cheered him up.
**
It has been three months now in the classes and my son now happily dribbles the ball, dances after hitting the goal, gives a confident Hi-5 to his team-mates at their success. If not better, he is as good as the others and now it is upto him as to how wants to take this sport forward. As of now he is happy and am glad to have listened to my Mind for a change.
**
The above situations do occur in some form or other in every parent’s life. As soon as the child is born, we are faced with challenges like..The above situations do occur in some form or other in every parent’s life. As soon as the child is born, we are faced with challenges like..Early feeds- Mother’s milk or bottle feeds?
Food- Taste Vs nutrition?
Toys/Playtime/TV Time/I-Pad time-How much is too much?
Messy experiments-Say ‘Wow’ or scowl?
Their curious mind- Feel proud of their quick learning or worry if they are also learning what they should not?
How to choose a school- Check their reputation? Curriculum?? Distance?Fee?

**
Phew .. the list is endless and every small/big challenge asks for a choice or a decision. Just like so many others decisions that we make in life with a mind vs heart conflict, so it is with parenting. However taking decisions while parenting, is perhaps more challenging. I mean, think about it, our children  are ultimately different individuals from us. They are their own people. Yet, all our reactions to their behavior and all our actions connected with their upbringing-even the choices we make for ourselves today are influencing and orienting their future personality.
**

Wow!  Nevertheless, parenting gives a lot of joy to the heart and enriches our mind every day. And as parents we can only hope that we are able to give a childhood to our kids, which remains well etched in their minds and forever cherished by their hearts.
**
Neha is a dreamer,  an observer, a wanderer and a writer of anything that captures her imagination. Currently she is on a sabbatical from 10 years of Business Development Profession,  is raising her son, doing whatever it takes to be happy and pondering over her half- drafted stories.

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