Mommy, why can’t I play with my iPad?


Image: pixabay

It’s an incident that happened a few days ago when I was visiting my parents’ home. My 5-year old nephew was watching some cartoons on the iPad. In spite of umpteen warnings by my mother, he was still glued to the screen. A couple of hours later, my sister in law returned home. She saw his son still with the iPad. So, without warning, she just snatched the iPad from his hands. What followed next was totally unbelievable.

My nephew was first stunned. And then in the next second, he lied down on the floor, and started banging his fists and head in a full blown tantrum. Seriously, who throws a tantrum, that too over a tablet?

A few days ago, a similar thing happened with my daughter. As she is more vocal, she chose to express her feelings rather than throw a tantrum. She was playing Temple Run on my phone, when I told her to give my phone back. She first made a face, but then when she saw I was serious, she gave the phone back to me.

But not without throwing this loaded question at me – “Now what do I do?”

It made me realize that I took away an important thing from her. But, in return I was offering her nothing.

Also, threatening them with “age-old TV, phone or tablet is not good for your eyes” cuts little ice. They have heard this a million times if not more, and they don’t care. They have friends who wear cool blue, pink or yellow framed glasses and don’t think having weak eyes hampers their lifestyle even a bit.

Kids until they turn 7-8 years, unlike adults cannot stare into space or daydream for hours. They need an activity to keep them busy. And, more often than not, the onus falls on us, the parents.

I often look back upon my childhood and try to recall what I did when I was my daughter’s age. It was simple. We didn’t have TV then (except a couple of hours in the evening which at that point of time didn’t interest me much) and there were no electronic gadgets. But, I had siblings. So getting bored was never an option. There was always someone or the other to play with. I don’t ever recall my mother playing with us. She had enough on her plate with 3 children. But, today, our kids are alone. Many of them don’t have siblings. And with working parents, no one to play silly games with.

So before we snatch that iPad or phone or switch off the TV, we need to think of interesting options for our kids. It’s not right to just yell at them – Go in your room and play! No, that doesn’t work.

They need clear clues. Suggest – how about you do a bit of drawing or colouring. Get more lucid if you have to – “Would you like to draw a flower, mountains or your favourite friends?”

They need more options. You snatched their favourite toy even if you don’t think of it as one. So they are sulking. That means whatever you suggest won’t go down very well initially. Remember, how we behave when we are upset with things. We just can’t think straight or realize what is right for us. Hence, keep a multitude of options handy. Running out of them is not an option. Drawing colouring, making puzzles, playing with dolls or kitchen set, etc.

Encourage to play alone. Do not pity. Playing alone is neither a catastrophe, nor a punishment. Today’s kids have ample toys and games. It won’t hurt them to indulge in some alone time with their treasure.

Offer to play. Kids can play alone but not for long. And, you can’t have their friends over all the time. So, sometimes it’s advisable to offer to play with them. Unfortunately, I have realized I cannot play with dolls or tea parties with her. It’s just not in me. However, I can do activities with her – like I read to her, make puzzles, take her for a walk, play Frozen UNO cards, narrate stories or play board games with her. Find your niche and indulge in that activity with your child.

Don’t back down. Once you have decided to take the gadget away, stick to your decision. If you surrender now, you won’t get the same level of attention or respect the next time you choose to do it. So, however hard it may be for you, just stick to it.

At the end of the day, just remember, snatching away a gadget is not enough, even if it’s for a higher good, you need to replace it with something worthwhile (in your kids’ eyes).


From Experience, I Can Tell You This is the Worst Way to Respond to Your Child’s Tantrum


My brother was a super tantrum thrower. As a child, I remember whenever his demands were not met, he would spread himself on the ground – no matter where he was, whether it was on the street, playground or dirt track – and kick his legs. For me at 8 years old, it was a funny sight, I am sure my mother would not agree with me.

I had forgotten all about my brother’s weird temper tantrums until I came upon my daughter throwing them. And, let me tell you, it was not funny anymore.

I guess it was payback time for me. Though it didn’t happen much, it was enough to emotionally and physically drain me for life. Without rhyme or reason, she would start crying and refuse to listen. I was having a hard time dealing with these tantrums, needless to say, and it was during this time that I got some hard lessons.

From experience, let me share the WORST ways to deal with your child’s tantrums. Do anything but this when you are tying to restore some peace and normalcy in life!

#1: Giving in to your child’s demands to avoid getting embarrassed in public

When it came to temper tantrums, I had started to notice one thing: the chances of it happening were more when I refused to buy my daughter candy, cookies or flavoured yogurt at the supermarket! It was embarrassing, and hence, I would give in to her demands. We try and do anything to avoid a public scene, right? But, then I realized I was being held to ransom. This could not go on.

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The Fearsome Fours are here – What to expect from a 4-year old?

four year old

Image – pexels

It looks like there’s a nasty adjective attached to every year your child grows. The terrible twos are now a thing of the past, and so are troublesome threes, but hey, we just started with the fearsome fours, and it’s here to stay for a while now.

So what I have experienced with my 4 year old so far:

They are Master Storytellers – They can spin a story out of nothing and make it sound credible too. So there is a green monster in her bedroom when she doesn’t want to go there, or a thief came to the house whom she tied up with a rope or there is a ghost house below the elevator shaft. It makes me think how and where she gets such fantastic ideas! Certainly, not from me!

They have an answer for everything – And I mean it, for EVERYTHING. On seeing a mosquito bite on her cheek, I told my daughter, “Did a mosquito bite you in the school?” She – “That’s why I told you na, not to send me to school this morning!” For a woman in her 30s who has seen quite a bit in her life, I still could not come up with a suitable retort.

They are not fools – A strange incident happened a few days ago. One of our very close relatives visited us. She called my daughter a few times and expressed desire to talk to her. But, my daughter refused. In fact, not only she did not go to her, but also refused to be in the same room as her. It was, I tell you, quite an embarrassing moment for me. A couple of days later, I asked my daughter why she didn’t talk to the guest. Her reply, “Because when I go to her house, she says ‘Go away from here’!” I was stumped.

They love birthdays (and gifts) – Ha, ha, who doesn’t? But seriously, their love for birthdays, cutting cakes and receiving gifts is at a different altitude. And yes, a party is a must, however small. My daughter was counting days till her birthday. Every morning, she would ask half-sleepily, ‘Is today my birthday?’ And the best part, now that her birthday is gone, she is not a bit perturbed – ‘So what, it will come again and then I will be 5 years old!’. Aren’t they just so optimistic?

As far as gifts are concerned, no party is complete without gifts. They shamelessly even ask for one. “Have you brought my birthday gift?” While you cringe, they don’t care!

They love asking why – Wherever they are, whatever they are doing, they have a question ready. You answer one question, and lo, another one is ready. It’s a never-ending chain (and they don’t care about your exasperation or fatigue) till you decide to send them to sleep. And they have questions for that as well. I somehow have an inkling they come well-fitted with this program.

“Why flowers bloom?” “Why it is raining today or why it is not raining today?” “Why do you want me to sleep?”

I have the answer to the last one – so that I don’t go and hang myself.

They love their friends – This might hurt you a bit, I know it did to me initially. They love their friends and desperately want to meet them. If she were 13, I would have understood, but only 4 and she is already crazy for her friends. I guess another year or two, before I should prepare for sleepovers too.

They can spill the beans on you – Beware of these little blabbermouths! You can keep a secret NO MORE. If they know it, everyone knows it! Not only secrets, they tell anybody and everybody, what they ate, where they went and what they did. Imagine your day to day life being publicly advertised. Let them not catch you in the act, or else you are done! Wink, wink!!

They throw tantrums – Actually, they never stop throwing tantrums. But the nature of these tantrums does change – they become nastier and hence more difficult to handle.

They are mini-adults – Most of the kids lose their cute pudginess (and how you miss it) and look like the miniature form of their adulthood. They even talk and throw logic like adults. With the body, their mind is shaping as well. They are curious and start showing interest in the world around them and developing important life skills.

They throw words back at us – You need to be very careful what you say before your kids. You can’t say no to your child for eating chocolate, and then go ahead and start munching on one in front of them. Go ahead, do it and you will certainly get an earful! 😉

They monopolize conversations – Your little chipmunk not only loves to talk, but also doesn’t let you talk. They feel left out when the conversation is not centered around them, or if no one is talking to them. Hence, they try to get the attention back on them. So everything has to be about them. Little narcissists!

So this is the fearsome four for me! And the amazing part is, the fearsome rollercoaster ride has just begun! Good luck to me!

Why there is a constant tug of war between my daughter and me?

naughty child in a tug of war with mommy

It’s been a while since I wrote something. A blog is usually where you log your life’s activities. With so much happening in my life, I am surprised I had not taken out time to post and share those events.

Anyway, let me start now. My almost 4 year old has transformed from a sweet little thing (well, almost) to a monster. And I am not exaggerating! She is stubborn like no one’s business, throws away things on a moment’s whim, and refuses to budge or accept her mistake.

It is as if I don’t know her at all. What has happened to my little darling? I have shouted at her, punished her and even raised my hands at her in desperation. But no, nothing has worked, which is even more frustrating. Seriously, I have felt like banging my head against the walls, but what I finally do is cry, sad and desperate tears.

I talked to my husband, or rather he came to me. He had been observing me and my confusion for some time now. And so one day he decided to have a talk with me and which I am so thankful for. He outlined a few facts for me. They go something like this:

You confuse the child all the time – Sometimes you tell your daughter “you are not a small child anymore, learn to wear clothes on your own or bathe on your own” and then without batting an eyelid you tell her “no, darling, you are small to go out of the house on your own or cut the onion with a knife”. What does the poor child do? Is she big or small?

You challenge her independence – At 3, most kids learn to be independent. They start going to a big school, learn new things and make new friends. In short, they are miniature adults already. Now when you tell her that “Eat your soup with a spoon!”. Ok, she loves that. It shows you are recognizing her as an individual. But when the next moment you shout “Not like this. Hold the spoon like that,” you lose all your goodwill. She resents you because you just stole her independence, her right to act or behave in a certain way.

She knows her opinion counts – At 3, your child knows that saying NO works and that you listen to her when she voices her opinions. However, what she doesn’t know is that her opinion counts only when it is to your liking. No wonder you don’t like her saying no to drinking milk or going to bed. On the other hand, she doesn’t like it when you don’t consider her decision important enough.

So what do you do? Apart from the head-banging, of course. Well, for starters, after all this ‘Gyan’, I must confess I realized that the fault was and is truly mine.

  • Find out if your child is hungry or sleepy. Most of the times, these culprits make your child behave way out of character.
  • When she is throwing a tantrum, let her be. Don’t strike while the iron is hot. Wait for her to cool down. Then later in the night, when she is in a playful mood, that’s when attack. I mean, explain to her why her behaviour was wrong and what made you upset. J
  • Tell her, for certain things she is old enough to take a decision, but for others she needs to listen to you.
  • Don’t threaten. It doesn’t work. Believe me.
  • If the matter is not that big, give in. Don’t make it a battle of egos. However, it’s important to assert yourself from time to time. So just leave the scene and come back later, when the temperatures have cooled down.
  • Recently, I read somewhere about the power of sleeptalking. So to try it out, what’s the harm, I have started doing it with my sleeping child. I talk to her about her positive aspects and how mama-papa love her.

Your child is growing up, and believe me, it’s a bumpy ride. Have fun!!

The Challenge Called Motherhood

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.

The Challenges of Motherhood

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.

Haircut, Dora the Explorer Shoes and One Stubborn Girl

You must be wondering if this title is making any sense at all. May be on the first read, no. But as the story unfolds, you will realize how apt it is. I remember my mama complaining, “If your child is even half as stubborn as you are, you will understand how difficult it is to be a mother of that child.” But at 5 – I didn’t understand that, at 10 – I ignored it, at 15 – I couldn’t care less for anything that my mama said and at 20 – I was bored of hearing the same oft-repeated dialogue.

But now when my daughter is 2, I understand the prophecy of my mother only too well. If I am/was stubborn, my daughter is a few notches ahead of me. Already.

Aanya admiring her Dora shoes

Aanya admiring her Dora shoes

She has a drawer full of shoes in all varieties, dainty sandals, flip flops, clogs, shoes, etc. Some have been bought by me while some gifted. Now having so many choices is a disadvantage that I have learnt the hard way. Of late, my little daughter wants to exert her freedom of choice. Which shouldn’t have been a problem if she understood a little. Now every time, she steps out she wants to wear shoes of her choice. And she points out at her lovely party-going shoes, Dora the Explorer. So whether she goes to her playgroup, visits her friend’s house or goes to the playground, she wants to wear her Dora shoes. Every time, invariably. And if you refuse her, she starts crying and throwing all sorts of tantrums. At the end, I hide those shoes lest they get spoiled with everyday wear and tear. Out of sight is out of mind. Why didn’t I think of it earlier? I am dreading the day when she will start selecting her clothes too. I am surely going to have a field time when that happens.

Now there’s another incident that’s recent and so very much in my mind. She is due for a haircut. I have a strong suspicion that she has magical hair that grows at the speed of grass in summer. After 15 days of getting a haircut, her bangs are already covering her eyes. But another haircut so soon when I am already reeling under the after effects of the previous one is just not possible. The little lady cries and cries and makes the simple procedure of 10 minutes stretched to an hour. Thankfully, the lady at the salon is a patient woman having a daughter the same age as mine. So I tie her hair in a pony tail and put some clips to hold the bangs in place. She put up a fight initially but when I told her ‘hairclips or haircut’, the choice was hers, she backed down. So now her hair looks neat held securely with hair ties/scrunchies and hairclips. But of late her hair has grown longer and looks untidy and unkempt. So being a holiday yesterday, I took her to the salon. We gave her all the props for distraction, chocolates, mobile phones, and other paraphernalia that the salon had. But to no avail. She didn’t let the lady cut her hair. Eventually, the salon lady suggested me to take her to a nearby men’s salon. She herself gets her daughter’s hair cut from them. So it might work out for my daughter as well.

Aanya and her fountain

Aanya and her fountain

Hoping against hope, I took her to the men’s salon. The salon was a small place but the all-male hair dressers looked inviting. They propped up some big cushions on the chair for my daughter and placed her there. Somebody even produced a chocolate for her which she readily grabbed from his hand. But as soon as she saw the scissors, she started howling. I am sure there must be people outside on the streets wondering what was happening inside. After 10 minutes of this drama, the ever-smiling lad got fed up and told me gently that he couldn’t cut the hair with her constant wriggling. She might get hurt. So thanking and apologizing at the same time to him and others in the shop, I left with my little howling daughter and the chocolate in her hand. She refused to let go of the chocolate even though she had done nothing to deserve it.

Once at home, I refused to talk to her. I was flushed with both embarrassment and anger. And my problem was still unresolved. Her untidy long hair. Now my last resort – her father is going to take her to the men’s salon on a Saturday with the iPad to keep her busy. That might do the trick. Keeping my fingers crossed!!!

And now I understand how it must feel to deal with a stubborn child. Sorry mama!!!