I remember those days of my pregnancy when experienced mothers would tell me, “Sleep all you want to, for once the baby comes, sleep will be a history” or “Oh, I want to forget those nightmare days of breastfeeding and diaper changing”. It seriously made me wonder what trap I was walking into.
Now that those days of breastfeeding and diaper changing are well behind me, I wonder why those ladies lied to me. Breastfeeding and diaper changing were the easiest part. Gets over in a year or two. But what has started now will stay for God alone knows how many years.
At 2, my toddler developed her taste buds overnight. She has more likes and dislikes about food than a grown up person. So all the things she loved to eat before now suddenly becomes the cause of her distorted face. So one day, she loves a certain food, the next day she won’t. At breakfast, she asks for eggs and the minute I give her she looks at me as if I have sprouted two horns on my head. Though I go by the saying that a child can never stay hungry, there are times when I doubt this. Because my daughter is more than happy to go without food if it’s not her favourite food which boils down to paneer, matar, paneer and more matar. So to keep her tummy full, I weave stories around her favourite animals that make her excited enough to eat her food.
Bathing her is another herculean task. Either she doesn’t want to bathe at all or she doesn’t want to come out of the bathroom and continue playing with water. So again, I need to smooth talk her into bathing or stop bathing. Phew!
Twice a day, my little daughter goes to the nearby park. She swings to her hearts content or so I think. An hour of sitting on the swing or playing on the slide is by no standards an inadequate time. But when it’s time to leave, she throws a tantrum. She wants more. So what do I do? I make promises of watching Barney’s on the TV or reading a story of Pepper. I know, I know. Don’t think I am not ashamed of this. But a mother’s life is all about surviving.
Now she wants to watch Barney’s at 10 in the morning or 3 in the afternoon. So again a white lie. Barney’s has gone to school or sleep or play with friends.
And of course, nobody warned me that whether I shower, pee or poop, I shall always have a live audience before me.
I am a respectful person; friends and family take me seriously. But my little one challenges my credibility all the time. She won’t listen to me, giggle at me when I threaten her or completely ignore me as if I don’t exist. All of this when she hasn’t even hit her teens yet.
As time passes, I realize my job is not only to feed, bathe or play with my little one, but a lot more. I need to be a magician for quickly hiding anything objectionable (mobile phone, car keys, etc) under my ample bottom or the pillow or any place where she will not look for. I need to be a master story teller (ok, a liar, if you please) to distract her. I need to constantly innovate and evolve because my child is growing smarter with each day. And on top of it all, I need patience. A lot of it. I have searched and searched, but disgustingly, no chemist stocks the pills.
So that’s my life as a mother to a toddler…so many jobs rolled into one. What do you do to keep your child happy?