This blog will be my online platform to share the delightfully rich experience of being a mother. My daughter is seven and going on eight. We both are at the same age. She is a seven year old child and I am a seven year old mother.
These seven years of parenting have taught me more than I ever learned in my formal education. It made me smile, laugh and cry. At times I did feet like banging my head on a wall. It made me give up for a moment only to get up the next. However, the motif of days is woven in a bright hued yarn of tender happiness.
I have read much on parenting. Nothing prepares you for the experience. You have to be in water to swim. Just become a parent and see. Patience, a little understanding and unconditional love will get you along.
We have a weekly ritual. On Saturdays, I apply oil to her hair in the morning. Nothing elaborate I just warm some coconut oil with few neem leaves and we decide on a comfortable place to sit. Put on some music and the mood is set. I started doing this when she was a toddler. At that time the conversations were one sided with much cooing from her side. It changed when she started to speak.
At present, we throughly enjoy this one hour. The topics are contemporary mostly comparing my own childhood with hers. So we talk about her friend who laughed at her, of the huge elephant she saw on the road. That day she insisted we have a pet elephant which was followed by a shocked silence on my part. No matter how much I tried, I could not see myself accommodating a baby elephant in the house. Finally, she realized it was not very practical to have an elephant in the house and agreed with my views, and we laughed at the sheer absurdity.
One Saturday she asked me about the neem leaves, I put in the oil. It was a wonderful hour when I told her about the lovely trees and the significance. There is a huge neem tree in the park behind our house so the botany lesson soon became a practical one. Whenever she goes to the terrace she breathes deeply and declares she is breathing oxygen.
Last Saturday we discussed her tantrums. She was not reluctant but I could sense the anxiety. Like our joys, our stress is also very personal. I realised I needed to be very careful. She should not feel like I was intruding. As she relaxed with the head massage she opened. There was a bully in the school who intimidated her in the lunch break. This girl was in a senior class and would ask her difficult questions and then make fun of her. I promised to talk to her teacher. I sat with her and let her talk about her frustration, anger and resentment. When she was done I wiped her tears and hugged her. She smiled.
“I want a big ice cream.” She declared impishly. Children can manipulate well.
Yes,we had ice-cream and a pizza that day. It became a memorable Saturday for all of us.
These Saturday conversations have helped us to know each other as individuals. This way I know what is happening in her life. I hope this carries on in the unstable teenage years. At times the mother in me is worried of the bad world. Yes, I know I have to make her strong so that she can take care of herself. I am happy to walk this path holding her hand as we learn together to become a better mother and a daughter.
I will be sharing my hands-on experience as a mother, in this blog series. Thanks for visiting.
First Published on Sulekha