Click here for shortcuts to regional language blogs and city-specific events.
The other day I was trying to feed milk to my two and a half year old girl. She has been on bottles since birth and I am in the process of getting her to hold her glass of milk. The weaning process is really slow, and the transition phase tests your patience each time.
That particular evening, I was prepared to get through this transaction. I gave her a small glass filled with bournvita milk (just the way she likes it). She refused. I urged politely but she had the same attitude.
I had had an extremely hard day and at 7PM I was not ready to take any nonsense. Her persistence nudged my temper but I took a deep breath and thought of an alternative. Post realizing that the glass won’t do the trick, I transferred the milk in her pink sippy. She drinks water in it every day, and has been her favorite possession for the last six months. As the milk was not the problem, the carrier was, so the sippy should have done the trick, but alas, I was wrong.
She took a sip, and then forgot about it. I kept asking her over and over again, but I guess she was in no mood of listening. She pushed me on the edge and counting till 10 was not effective to soothe my rising temper. She pulled the last straw when she laid that sippy on my grey couch and gave it a big white stain.
The cleanliness paranoid and a disciplined mother in me could not entertain and absorb this trait of hers. Before I could open my mouth to yell, my hand had made its way.
The contact of my hand with her flesh echoed through the walls. My snow white had a burning red cheek and Niagara Falls came running out of her big black eyes. She cried and cried some more, and asked to be held. No matter what I do, I am still her mother, her comfort zone. At this age, she is fond of me even when I hurt her as bad.
Why is it that you loose on those moments of hesitation before you raise your hand, and once you have crossed the bridge, all you feel is guilt, remorse and wrong, very wrong.
“I shouldn’t have”, “How could I?”, “Look at her hugging me even after this.” , cried my head, but that ship had sailed. It always does.
Moments after soothing her, I retired to my bedroom, and reflected on my deed and felt exceedingly miserable. In the spur of the moment, I held my head up, and slapped myself as hard I could, to feel that pain. There was no rationale behind my act; I guess I was just finding ways to dodge guilt. My skinny fingers had a deep impact on my face and the burning sensation filled my skin and jawline. I tasted my own medicine, and it was more bitter than I could fathom. I was just about to rub my cheek that I heard the grief stricken howl of my tiny one. She must have followed me, without me noticing her.
She yelled whist crying, “Mummy ko nahi. Please.”She felt my pain, and I was in pain to witness that. I took her in my arms and hugged her so tight.
She looked at my cheek and started kissing it whist healing it with her angelic touch. Suddenly I felt no physical pain; it was long gone. All I felt was the pain that mothers feel – it’s a heartache minced with emotions.
My tiny little girl felt my agony more than hers. That realization made me feel bad and good at the same time. Bad as I wasn’t more patient with her and good, well, because little Mysha is already becoming the daughter I want her to be. She has already started to feel her mother’s pain and taking care of her, in her own way!
As a parent, I promised myself that I wouldn’t have high expectations from her. Expectations often lead to failure, and I don’t want to be disheartened. But this incident made me warm, and gave me hope. Maybe I am doing something great as a guardian. Mysha is turning compassionate and can relate to me, when needed.
That night I went to sleep, like I always do – hugging my girl. As warm tears flowed from my eyes, thinking of the happenings of that evening, Mysha tapped my cheek in a gentle manner saying– Mummy lub you. Toh jao.
And we did have a good night sleep.
P.S. I'm not endorsing any parenting technique. I am 'just a mother' and learning from my own experience(s).