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The other day I was reading a blog about disturbing habits (like thumb-sucking, chewing toys, nose- pricking) in toddlers. I was happy to realize that I could rule 6 out of 7 habits listed there. I went down the ruminating lane to understand how come my 22 month old toddler did not develop those habits. And after a while I got my answer.At the age of 5 months when my baby started scooting and rolling over, I became more alert about the things within his reach. I tried to keep everything clean around him. After a couple of months, he started to have an urge to take everything in mouth and chew it on to soothe his irritating gums. Every time I saw anything in his mouth, I went mad and ran towards him, yelling ‘Muh mein nahi! MUH MEIN NAHI! (I was always worried about the infections). As a result, within a month he knew that he was not supposed to take anything in his mouth with his own hands and he had to wait for his mommy to feed him or to soothe his gums. I always gave him natural teethers like carrot or cucumber which he also enjoyed.
When my son turned 1, he could differentiate between edible and non-edible items. But he never picked anything with his own hand and ate (Not sure if it was a good habit). He always asked us to give him interesting items from our plates. At 18 months, I started sending him to a daycare, inside our apartment, for an hour, so that he could make some friends and play with them. There he saw other kids picking up biscuits from their snack boxes and eating themselves. He learnt the same in a while and for the first time he ate anything using his own hands. Today, he knows pretty well what he should eat himself and what not. He doesn’t take any toy or his thumb in his mouth. He doesn’t touch anything dirty or dusty (unless it’s too tempting). He always asks me to wash his hands and clothes when they get dirty. (I guess he is also becoming a neat freak like me.) Many of my friends and relatives are surprised to see him doing such stuff.
There were times when his grandmothers and me were worried about ‘what if’ things. I was forced to rethink about my ways but today I’m happy that I stuck to my mother instinct. It saved him from some serious infections that babies often tend to catch in first year. Also, it gives me a sense of achievement when my toddler is counted among well-behaved kids in his play school. (Happy me 😀)