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Wednesday, 29 May 2013

The Fine Thin Line

This is a balance act.. really is. Where you draw the line between love for your little one and excessive love which just about begins to spoil your child. The fine thin line barely visible.. and the line i,m beginning to search for frantically as my three year old is turning out to be four..

My three year old like I guess all normal three year old these days is fond of mobiles, laptops, televisions, DVDs and different gizmos. What do i do... forbid her, concede to her demands or as obvious stop somewhere in between and where is that line.... and the line is obviously different for different parents. She started with my mobile not so high on technology clicking pics, playing games , i introduced her to laptop... you tube basically along with story books and different puzzles. Television, child discovers on her own and is basically used as an eating aid. Yes i know healthy eating habits and family time not withstanding my daughter still has her food rather food stuffed inside her mouth with television on. Opinions would vary, several brows would frown but kudos to all the parents who are able to inculcate healthy eating habits in child. Though still i am yet to see a child and i have seen very few adults (wouldn,t include starving girls surviving on a bowl of fruit or overweight aunties dieting on salads) who takes their regular helping of fruits and vegetables as a part of normal diet. With love and sympathy when i hand over a pack of fried crispy or a pack of candy to my daughter after coming from office...is this love really or an exercise to be guilt free... Then the regular or once in a while visit to any junk food joint and watch with pride the little one carry the tray full of all sorts of unhealthy stuff and binge merrily. Again where do we draw the line to the point it does not become excessively unhealthy.

As we saw our daughter get addicted to Chota Bheem and Doraemon we used it to our advantage, leave her with television and sneak out for office or shopping, or when she used to create a major fuss to stay over at our neighbour,s place for extended play dates. Though i read in mommy blogs ad hear some mummies claim they restrict the time of viewing upto one hour or so but how would you do it...obviously get her distracted ...more toys , educative puzzles, books.. we did just that and soon it was puzzles, puzzles all around and we were involved as well helping her...then there was a ' scribbling' phase and then colouring phase.. where we went around buying more colour books still the fever was over. My smart phone gave her another new thing to do... Angry Birds, typing incoherently, shooting videos, playing you tube...where we watched stories and songs. But somehow it became her regular habit to fiddle with the phone before sleeping switch on some ' zoo' apps or anything else to the point of ruining her sleep... so again i got stories to the rescue. Problem is to find suitable stories for children...Cindrella Snow White Hansel & Gratel where every time the mother is dead , father remarries and gets a wicked mom!!!! Tried Panchatantra tales...fox in grave hunger trying to get grapes but unable... the story loses its moral and i end up feeling sorry for the fox. We have tried Dr Seuss after the rave reviews either i am not a good story teller or this is not my idea of childhood story telling.. so Dr Seuss didn't work much. I got a few books from the Pepper series, both me and her loved his stories simple with a message and something she could read looking at the pictures and something we could reframe at night without looking at the book. Also i tried Bengali children Ramayan which is again difficult considering it begins with king and his four wives.. second wife conspiring for throne.. too much for little one and she ended up liking Hanuman,s antics and Lanka Kand. There is a dearth in Children Literature it seems while in my time it seemed i was spoiled for choice...

All these quite well.. but now after shifting to the twelfth floor of a high rise apartment in Gurgaon, and keeping my daughter away from the sleek iPad  the neighbouring six year old carries with him..we just stare helplessly as he plays on and my daughter stares hungrily.. after being forbidden and told  she cannot have an ipad in clear terms..( though she demanded a pink iPad once she is as old as neighbouring Dada!!)  How do i forbid her when she asks me ' can i go to their place  ma ' while her main intention is to have a grab at the iPad and play a game or two. I was about to read her a story last night which i could never finish off as iPad man (who spends his weekends in the Gaming zone at Ambience Mall) embarked in after his so called ' tuition classes'. We have a good family term and knowing them well cannot interfere after a certain extent... so the dilemma...Though somehow i told him either it,s 'simple playing' between the two or he and his iPad at his home.. But then where is that fine thin line... which would stop my daughter from getting spoiled and how do i save her from all the techie attacks of the brat, the looks of envy for the device and the settling for games in her mom,s comparatively tiny mobile... Do i sound a bit disappointed...not really i hope.

Splurging on toys to save us from a major fuss in public.. and yes i have seen other parents facing the same dilemma with a sulking child at trail. My husband would say learn to say ' NO' and i,d say i reserve my ' No,s' for all the times when it is needed most. Most of the times we accuse each other of our parenting methods, each disliking other's...While he feels i am spoiling our child rotten by conceding to her whims and spending my time in internet,  i would feel this is an impractical old school trying-to-be disciplinarian father...guess we would be always at loggerheads..

Parenting..to create a world for my child like my parents created for me.. books.. pictures... stories... where as Mobiles, games, cartoons.. the world of my daughter. Somewhere is the line, somewhere is the healthy blend of both the worlds.. the quest is on.. only patience is needed.. lots of it..