Motherhood is full of challenges, we all know that. But the trickiest challenge comes from the child himself. As an infant, my daughter was the ideal baby. No fussiness, no crankiness and no tantrums. She ate anything that I placed before her or fed her without a fuss. Such a sweet-natured child she was. It goes without saying that I boasted this regularly before my friends and family. And then I was regularly told, “Don’t say that. Or she will get the evil eye.”
She turned two. And all hells broke loose. She changed overnight. The little girl learnt to say ‘no’. Whatever I say, whatever I do; it was a big ‘NO’. She learnt to throw tantrums if I didn’t listen to her ‘no’. I put it down to terrible twos. She would soon outgrow the phase, I told myself. And outgrow she did.
She changed. And it was a change for worse. Now she actually knows why she is saying no. And once a no spoken, stays no. She has developed her likes and dislikes. And once a mind made, stays so. Well. I would really appreciate her strong will if it wasn’t me at the receiving end. Milk which was once the favourite now suddenly has lost the favour. Suddenly the food is not good or the clothes she is wearing are not good enough. You make one thing but she doesn’t want it because now she wants to eat something else. You tell her eat this or stay hungry. And to your disbelief she stays hungry.
You give her variety but no she wants the same thing again and again every day. And then one fine day without warning, she doesn’t want it anymore. Somebody suggests may be she has got the evil eye. And so in a desperate attempt you even ward off the evil eye as if that would kick away all your problems. And you feel like banging your head against the wall. But you do no such thing. Instead you go to the kitchen and make whatever is that your child wants just so that she eats. After all can a mother see her child go hungry?
As she is growing up, the battle of the wills are becoming tougher and most often than not you come out the loser. In your frustration to understand her, you smack her. She cries a little and then asks, “Mama, why did you hit me?” That’s the moment you feel like the lowliest creature in this world. That’s the moment you realize she is not doing it deliberately, she is as much at a loss as you are. And that’s probably the moment when you realize that she doesn’t want you to understand her but just wants you to wrap your arms around her. After all with her, you too need a lot of growing up to do.
You doubt your ways and your parenting, but what you fail to realize is that no parent is born with the knowledge of parenting. It’s a trial and error game for everybody. But the underlying goal is the same, the well being of their child.
Does the story sound familiar to you? Then we may be travelling in the same boat. The phase of difficult childhood.