Oh no! Am I raising a Kleptomaniac? Or a Shoplifter?

I watched as my son stirred in the bed today morning. He was about to wake up. He opened his eyes, sat up and said “Sorry!”. In a split second my mind was racing to find the reason behind the sorry. Why did he say that? Did he wet the bed, spill the milk, lose his new car, hurt someone, break something in the house?

I asked him what happened.

Mamma I brought something from my friend’s house. [Pause]. Without asking anyone.

For your reference – The kid had been dropped off at a friend’s place the afternoon/evening before while the husband and I had to go shopping for fans, geysers, lights, exhaust fans, mirror frames and kitchen countertops. Phew! And whoever has been to City market/BVK Iyengar road knows that is no place to tag a kid along while shopping.

My whole body and mind went onto alert stage. This would be an ideal case study for the practical exam of Parenting 101: How to handle delicate matters without losing your cool and getting the message across!

I was calm, very calm outside. Inside too actually, or else the conversation would be very different from what it was.

I asked him what did he bring? He fished 2 toys out of his pocket. A Ben 10 thingumajiggy and one of those Hotwheel kind of cars. And then came out a few coins. He had been sleeping with these in the pocket after dozing off in the car on our way back from their home.

He said sorry again and from his face you could make out he knew he had done something wrong. So in a see-the-silver-lining-in-the-cloud way, I felt good that the concept of right and wrong was there in the kid’s mind.

He said “I took it without asking A, (the friend), or P aunty, (the friend’s mom). I took the coins from the piggy bank.”

My usual self would have gone ballistic by now, giving all gyaan about why he shouldn’t do it, why this was wrong, what would the friend and his mom feel, what should he have done, and the whole schpeel.

But today for some reason, I let nature take it’s course with a few prompts, of course!

So I said, “How do you feel about it?”

He said “Not good. I shouldn’t have done this.”

So far so good.

Me: “Do you think this is a good thing to do? Taking things from anywhere without permission from the people who stay there?”

N: “No. We shouldn’t take anything from anyone’s homes or even shops without asking them.”

Me: “Or paying for them when it is in a shop.”

N: “Yes”

Me: “How would you feel if your friend takes something of yours without asking?”

N: “Not nice”

Me: “Hmm. I wonder how A will feel when he realises his toys are gone.”

N, with eyes wide open, the thought of that striking him: “He will not like it. He will be sad. He won’t let me play with his toys ever again.”

Me: “Hmm, do you think there is a solution to this? Can we do something to make it better?”

N: “Yes, I will say sorry to him. Hold my ears go up and down (now where did he get that from? Discussion topic for the future!) And promise that I will never ever do this again.”

Me: “I think saying sorry is a good idea. Should we also tell P aunty about this? She was the grown up in the house whom you could have asked for permission.”

N, a little reluctant: “Umm, if I tell A, won’t that be enough? I will just say sorry to P aunty.”

Me: “That should be ok, i think. Can you tell me why you did it?”

N: “I really liked these toys and wanted them.”

Me: “Hmm, what did you think would happen if you had asked A for it?”

N, shrugging his shoulders: “He would have said no.”

Me: “He could have said no or yes. But we don’t know his answer because we did not ask.”

N: “I know. Asking is good because when we ask, we get to know things we didn’t know.” – The mantra we use at home sometimes 🙂

Me: “What do you think we should do next time, we really like something at someone’s house or in a shop and we want it for ourselves?”

N: “Ask them if we can share it for sometime. If I really like something in a shop, I will tell you or daddy and we will add to my wishlist and buy later.”

Me, taking full use of the self discovery and problem solving by the kid, pushing it a li’l bit further: “What will you do if your friend says, no you can’t have that toy?”

N, looking at me as if that wasn’t possible: “I will request them again and if they say no, I will show that toy to you and you can buy for me the same one” Big grin on his face.

Me: “That sounds like a good plan. We can discuss if we want to buy that toy later on. Let us remember this the next time.”

N: ” Ok, mamma. Next time we go to A’s house, I will take all these back and give it to him. Can you keep them safely for me?”

I am not particularly proud of what N did but then there is a first time for everything and it is our responsibility as a parent to guide them and raise that voice inside which guides their conscience. But I am happy that he realized things himself and was willing to work on a solution, there was no drama from my end and the communication lines between me and N were not damaged 🙂

I hope the message has gone through and if not I shall repeat and reinforce.

Happy Parenting!!

Have a lovely weekend folks 🙂

I am sharing my Do RIght Stories at BlogAdda.com in association with Tata Capital.

 

Advertisements

Progress? Don’t Know. Maybe!

If someone asks me if the magic has happened yet, if I feel I can run 10K smoothly. The answer would be umm err <pause> I don’t know.

Frankly I think my state of running has gone a little down hill from when I started. I feel like I get breathless soon, muscle cramps, fatigue, sleep deprivation all of these have set in. This is Week 3 of running. Experienced runners say it gets better after the first 3 to 4 weeks. I am looking forward to see things getting better 🙂

Apart from that I ran my first 4K last Saturday which was pretty decent. I ran/walk the distance and felt good after that. But on Sunday I felt breathless soon and did more walk than run. Had cramps in upper thighs too after the whole workout which are better now.  Lets see how this weekend goes. I think I just need to do it easy, slow and steady.

This would be a lovely run path along the water, won’t it?

run path

************************************************************************************************************

Turned 33 last week. Now I believe that saying “Age is just a number”. Doesn’t feel like 33, however that is supposed to feel. It is exciting. So much to do, so much to learn, so much to experience. Loving it! I know I am on a high and expect a low coming soon. I believe in cycles in life – highs and lows. Natural rhythms. Karma. Destiny.

************************************************************************************************************

N is growing up into a lovely kid. All moms believe that of their children, I guess. He has a lot of compassion and empathy now. Is curious, questions everything around him, innovative, loving and charming 😉 Is sensitive too.

May all these qualities flourish and may I have more patience to raise him, be a mother, a bodyguard (as he calls me sometime), a confidante. Amen!

************************************************************************************************************

We do our bit of how-was-your-day, what made you sad today, what made you happy, at night before we sleep. Last night N tells me a boy in his class called the teacher “Hey sexy babe!” And then that child got a time out.

Then he told me he learnt a new “S word” from friends in the park. S-hole.

Hmmmmm

I asked him if he knew what it meant. He didn’t. I told him he shouldn’t use these words at this age. They are rude and show disrespect towards the other person. When he grows up and understands the meaning he can decide for himself.

He said Okay mumma! Gave me a good night hug and kiss and slept off.

Love you my baby!

From N’s mouth

In the train on the way to Bathinda where my sister stays currently, N looks at me and says”Are you excited about seeing your sister?” I say “Yes”. N gives me a raised eyebrow look and says “Okay, but when you see her don’t go all hyper and run to her saying yayyyyyyyyyy”.

When did I ever do that???

*****************************************

At my in-law’s place, I was helping my mother-in-law in the kitchen. N wanted me to play with him. I told him to wait till I was done helping daadi (grandmother). He crosses his arms and says “Hmmm now that you have got a mother you have forgotten your son. That is very nice (said with a sarcastic twinge)”.

Huh, too many Bollywood movies I say!

*****************************************

N was having a candy bar. My mother asked him if he would share some of it. N paused, looked at the half eaten candy bar and said “Here you can have the wrapper. I can share that with you!”

I swear this is not what I have been teaching him about sharing!!

*****************************************

While watching a show on Discovery Kids about how salt is made,

N: I know where salt comes from. It comes from water!

Me: How do you know that?

N: When we were in Thailand and I was playing with my friends in the water on the beach and the water came on my face, I licked it and it was salty. So I membered (for remember) from there.

Me: 🙂

**********************************************

Walking back from the library nearby in Bathinda, N while walking in some sand: I am in Egypt mamma, want to join me?

Me: Why are you in Egypt? Where is Egypt here?

N: See there is sand below my feet. Egypt has sand dunes and camels. So this is Egypt. I read in Diego’s adventure in Egypt book.

Me (to myself): Fine! I will not hold a prejudice against Diego and Dora!

Day 26 – Daily list of Happiness!

In Pursuit of More is a blog I follow. Shira is a lovely lady who cooks really yummy food and runs a non-profit called Not So Fast. She has a beautiful blog and I love the pictures and quotes she puts up. One of my favorites is “More compassion. More acceptance. More middle ground.”. This could apply to all fields of life!!

One of her recent posts was about her daily bits of happiness. It is a beautiful read and it prompted me to write my own list of things that make me happy every day.

1. When I get up before my son wakes up and spend some time chatting with my husband about our plans for the day or about what’s going on in our current fave reality TV show or anything else under the sun.

2. A pit stop at my fave coffee haunt here in Wellington and catching up on the day’s news in the local paper.

3. Having some simple and flavourful food when I am really hungry (this one I share with Shira).

4. Getting my social media dose for the day.

5. Sorting or clearing something and getting rid of clutter.

6. Ironing clothes while watching TV – it does bring me peace of mind.

7. Talking to my mom and my sister. They complete my day. Love you both!!

8. Cooking a fresh pasta with veggies, olive oil and garlic. I love making and eating that.

9. Story time before I put my son to bed. I think I enjoy reading out the stories and discussing new things we discover, more than N.

10. My son’s genuine hearty giggles or laughs. They are so infectious and always always bring a smile to my face 🙂

11. Catching up with a friend via phone or in person. Friends are like therapy and we all need some!

12. Some music before I go to bed while I read an interesting book. I like discovering new songs and new kinds of music.

I should do one or more of these to keep my happiness quotient high for the day.

What’s on your daily list of happiness? Are you able to do any or some of them daily? Why not?

 

This post is part of the Marathon Blogging December 2012.

Day 24 – What’s with some parents and candy overload?

Overheard at the airport, one lady to another, “My son always wants candy after school, after dinner. If I don’t give it to him, he makes such a big scene. I keep it ready with me at all times.” She went on to rant about how she just couldn’t get her child to get rid of this habit. How he was getting too much sugar. How he wouldn’t listen to her when she refused and would start rolling on the floor.

I wanted to ask her “Who is the parent here?”, “Why do YOU give the candy?”, “What will happen if you don’t?” [Believe me the world does not come crashing down]. And mostly (except a few extreme cases) the shouting, crying, yelling, kicking aka throwing a tantrum stops after a while. Kids need all the love in the world but sometimes they also need to know that you will enforce some rules and stick to them. They will test limits, that is what they are meant to do, that is how they learn. YOU need to be the grown up. Decide what you want to do and then don’t crib about it. Period.

I know my social boundaries and in general, I do not give out unsolicited advice, so I kept quiet 🙂

But I seriously don’t understand why parents would give so much candy – especially when the kid is getting loud, noisy, whiny and rude! I would think that’s the time NOT to give them something they like rather than reward them with treats.

I know of people with kids who keep candy/sweets/treats in their bags and whip them out when they sense troubled times ahead. Candy is used as a pacifier or mellow-down-tool or a bribe. I never get that concept. Why would you want to do that? Why wouldn’t you use that opportunity to let the kid learn, “listen” to what the kid really WANTS not what he/she is yelling for? What this results in, is a sugar high kid, becoming hyperactive by the minute and more defiant than earlier.

So stop the excuses lady, make a choice and stick to it!!

This post is part of the Marathon Blogging December 2012. 

Day 20 – Time for some revision

I read this post on Parentous day before, and saw this workshop video again.

I decided it was time to revise some body basics with N. I first talked to him about sexual abuse when he was 3. Maybe a little early. But I kept it simple and explained to him that the parts covered by his swimming shorts were private and no one except mommy and daddy are allowed to touch him there. If anyone does, he should tell us. I felt that much was enough for that age.

The last we talked about this was when he turned 4. This time I added some more steps – These are your private body parts. We don’t touch them in public. We don’t let anyone else touch our private parts. If someone touches us there (it could be anybody) we shout out “NO”, run away from there and come tell mommy or daddy. And we don’t touch anyone else’s private parts.

I will show him this video today. And revise again in about 6 months. Meanwhile, I will stay alert and ensure that my child is aware. He should know he can do some thing about it and he has someone to talk to.

This is not something that happens only to others. This is real. It is not something we can should ignore. It is not something to be brushed under the carpet. It can happen at home, at school, in any city, any country. Talk to your child if you haven’t already. Empower them!!

This post is part of the Marathon Blogging December 2012.

A day of remembrance

Sandy hook2

Friends and fellow bloggers,

I am one of the many bloggers, who is taking part in observing silence for the innocent victims who lost their lives in Friday’s shooting rampage at Sandy Hook Elementary School, Connecticut.
It was a sad moment, one of the worst you could go through as a parent, as a human being.
I hugged my son tighter than usual as I picked him from school that day. I kissed him extra goodnight kisses.
I read what Karen Alpert says here “We all say a lot of things to our children. Some of them good. Some of them not as good. Because it’s what helps them grow. But the most important thing we say is I love you. We say it all the time. Even when we’re not actually saying it.”  and I said a million I-love-yous – some silent, some out loud!
I don’t know how I would feel or what I would do, if I was in that position as those families whose loved ones have been taken from them.
I don’t know if this or the many other things, people all over the world are doing, would help me.
But as bloggers and as human beings, we collectively want those affected by this to know that they are in our thoughts and prayers.