Interacting with your child can be fun yet challenging. Here is a look at understanding the different phases of childhood.
“Mumma, I want to dooo (this)!” This is the routine dialogue of my 4 year old son for everything these days.
Sometimes I wonder if kids are born with multiple personalities. “I don’t want mumma, bad mumma, I will stay at school, you go home!” – this is what my dear kiddo says when I go to pick him up from school. I am sure the onlookers would be wondering what I have done for him to say this, but surprisingly, there are times when I have the same doubt too!
At home, if his dad says anything to stop him from doing something naughty, he runs to me and says, “I don’t want naanna (dad in telugu), bad naanna!” Doing the same thing he did with me earlier in the day!
The same one asks “Mumma are your legs aching? Shall I press them? Do you have a cold? Why don’t you take those, white, brown and orange medicines? Shall we go and see the doctor?” Now, after listening to such caring questions, from the most innocent face, how I can ever remember he said bad mumma? Is he really the same kid?
With kids everything is a phase, and most phases are temporary. I remember my son being only active and more active from the time he was born; there was not a dull moment except for a week till date. That week was the calmest and scariest too! The kid, who had never stopped running, suddenly became clingy! I had never seen him like that and had never encouraged any clinginess.
He was around 2.5 years at that time and up until that week, he would regularly make me run behind him in circles on our apartment’s walking track. He would be always on the go, always exploring; the noisy kind of child.
Suddenly one day I had him holding my hands, not playing in the park and asking me to carry him all the time. It got me worried so much that I even spoke to his school teacher and found out that everything was as usual. To my relief, and before I knew it, he was back to normal after a week or so. It was a phase!
There was another phase where he would postpone every task. When asked him to come for a bath, he would say “I will come after reading this book,” and we would have to wait. After the book was over and we asked him again, he would say, “After keeping the cars in the line”. We would wait, and then he would say, “I will go for one round of cycling around the dining table with my mask on! And then will come for bath”. After that was done, he said, “Let me quickly finish this puzzle now.” And I would finally lose my patience!
Then there is this phase of questions – that go on in a never ending loop. I secretly loved the curiosity he showed and asked so many questions, but sometimes was at a loss about what/how to answer!
So here he goes,
Him: “Mumma, what’s for lunch today?”
I say: “Bhindi, my dear.”
Him: “Which bhindi?”
I try: “This bhindi, here, in the pan.”
Him: “Which this bhindi?”
I try little more: “This green bhindi.”
Him: “Which green bhindi?”
I try to be smart: “The one which we buy from the store – that green bhindi.”
The smarter one: “Which store-bought green bhindi?”
I am like: “????!!!!”
Now this is the current phase, and I wish he never stops questioning, even if it makes me tired.
There was a phase in which he was engrossed in doing puzzles, a phase of him doing only cycling in the evenings, phase in which he would walk up the stairs instead of taking the lift to our home.
There was a phase when he would throw pillows as soon as he woke up, saying, “I am very upset!” first thing in the morning, which used to make me even more upset!
There was a phase when he used to keep an item of travel gear next to him while having his meal at the table – like someone at an airport having a quick meal!
There was this phase when he would keep a book next to him and read it and re-read it till he finishes his meal. People would think he was studying and wonder if he is preparing for an exam!
Then there was this phase when he would very seriously say “don’t kiss me!” in the cutest voice as he runs out of the door for his school – a phase which made me laugh and feel sad simultaneously!
Not every cloud brings rain – while some phases are the most enjoyable, others are tougher. A grumpy child early in the morning is not so easy to deal with for any parent! Similarly, when he picks up fights at home or school, I am sure every parent wants to give their best and try to resolve the issues that their child is facing.
But we pass through most phases without even knowing that they are over, and the child is ready with a new challenge altogether. We are so engrossed with the current phase that it takes a while to remember and feel happy or sad about the phase that has just passed. Even when something not so pleasant is happening with lots of tantrums, we need always to remember that this too shall pass.
Sure a kid starts doing something new and we call it a phase, but how well a family sails through it mostly depends on parents and the school (read care givers). Sometimes things might turn out to be witty or challenging depending on our own response to a situation rather than the kid. Hence a care giver’s mood or skill in handling the child plays a great deal in making or breaking a phase. When I am all enthusiastic and in a good mood, I memorize, smile and even write about them like now. When I am coping with a rough day, sometimes I feel terrible about his behaviour!
Coming back to the first scenario, where my son would refuse to come home with me after school hours – I am happy to say that I managed to solve the riddle now! The phase which looked so bad to me and to his teachers, actually did not have a bad or a strong reason after all!
He would say “I don’t want Mumma in the sand area,” at random times of the day while playing at home, but never once did he say it during pick up time. After listening to this for a couple of days, it occurred to me that he is expecting me to wait for him in the lawn (a few feet away from the sand pit). And voila! he comes running happily and hugs me after school now. Apparently he also told his teacher, “If Mumma comes into the sand area, then what game will I play with her?”
So yes, active listening, sometimes interpreting what he means, being in his shoes and dealing with one thing at a time – all these parenting tips helped me to be at peace and enjoy his childhood phases in a better way!
Before you start thinking that this is a happy ending, let me tell you that the darling kid is up to pushing limits and testing limits phase now – yet another riddle to solve! This must be the phase of asserting individuality!
What is the current phase of your child? Tell us how you are enjoying the same.
Image source: family in a playful mood by Shutterstock.