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School’s telephone number flashed on my mobile, I was talking to my MIL and it was a call waiting. I hung her up without informing and connected to the school. It is usually a diaper reminder call or about something I forgot to put in his bag. My heart sank, I was like, “what is it this time’’?
To which the teacher replied, ‘’Gurnav has had his shoes interchanged’’. I laughed so hard that even the teacher started laughing. It was a Gurudwara visit on the occasion of Gurupurab, must have happened there. She said ‘’No, we remove their shoes at the school only’’. Then how did it happen? He is so particular about his things. He is too smart not to recognize his own shoes.
The teacher said, ‘’I remember those were not the shoes he wore when he entered school, but he said, those black and red are mine’’, so I gave in’’. ‘’Yes, he wore blue shoes from home’’. ‘’Okay, so his shoes have been exchanged with Sonit. I had no option but to make him wear Gurnav’s shoes, so I did’’. ‘’I’ll surely pack them neatly and send to school tomorrow’’. I replied with much affirmation.
But the matter was serious as it was seeming to me. Gurnav came home and refused to remove his friends’ shoes he was wearing. Kept on saying, ‘’These are mine, Gurnav’s shoes’’. I said no, they are not. He wouldn’t agree, neither did he let go of them. I had a hard time removing them from his feet. Even found a tiny container of mishri which I never kept in his bag!
It was clear, my kid liked them and he took them. Even convinced his teacher that they are his. It was the first time my kid STOLE. Stealing might be a very big issue for a 2.5 year old to be associated with. ‘’They are too innocent to understand even the meaning of stealing’’, said all my friends. I was shocked, upset and helpless, I had to share. One said, ‘’make him understand that it hurts when you steal someone’s things’’, another said, ‘’tell him it’s not okay to take someone’s stuff without permission’’. Sweet ones said ‘’he’s just mistaken, don’t bother’’. But someone wise said, ‘’Kids don’t steal things they just take it’’.
Yes he is stubborn and a live monster too. Lies on the ground in front of the toy shop, refuses to come out of the ride and doesn’t even open his mouth for food he doesn’t like. He cannot be fooled or mistaken. Which made me believe, he must have snatched, sneaked or worse stole from the other kid. Being a first time Mom, stories of horror kept rounding my mind, What will happen in the future, Am I going to get complaints often like this, Should I take him to a child’s psychiatrist? I just couldn’t think straight. Moreover the suggestions about making him understand bothered me more. How am I going to do this, when he is not even ready to remove the newly found shoes?
I took a deep breath, glanced upon my parenting style, thought instead of making him understand that stealing is bad, I’m in a way teaching him what stealing is?
Instead of dealing with the consequences, my mind was constantly running as to ascertain the need he felt to pick up someone else’s shoes and call his own. I took the weeping Gurnav in my arms to his room and simply opened his shoe –drawer. I took out some 8 pairs of various kinds of footwear he possess and told him what a beautiful collection he has. One has Spiderman flying out of it whereas the other has a Ben 10 embossed. He looked at them as if seeing them for the first time. He picked them one by one, admired them, did a little dance with them and himself acknowledged, ‘’those shoes-Sonit’’.
I was a relieved and happy mother. I kissed him tight and put his new shoes (a golden punjabi jutti reserved for his chachu’s wedding) on him and let him run crazily. I even opened mine and husband’s drawer and let him pick whichever he wants. He tried to fit in my silver stilettoes very hard but the poor lad couldn’t walk in them. He removed his dad’s red shoes’s laces and wore them too. I enjoyed happily clicking pictures of him asking him to pose even. Little did we realize our whole afternoon was spent in a shoe-spree sitting on the floor.
Being an organized mother that I am, I have kept just two pairs of shoes for him to wear at school and spoil them. Some are his home shoes, some are his park ones, and some are only reserved for outings as the punjabi jutti. Kids have their own way of taking what they like when they have been deprived of them. Instilling soft-discipline from the very start, I forgot the ambitions of a restless toddler who wants everything that exists. Watching those red and black shoes which he was after, I realized; Balance is the name of the game. Can’t expect my toddler to bear the brunt of my organized demeanor. He was plain-bored with his blue shoes. Thank God, I interpreted before it was too late!
Now the mishri packet is another mystery to be unfolded and yet another antic of my mushy monster to be explored!!