Monday, June 10, 2019

100 Rays Of Son - 29

Do You Want Me To Be Naughty?

My mom would say I was very troublesome child even on the day of my birth. I was breech baby delivered at home, and she would narrate how horrible her condition was. In fact I came into the world one leg first which looks like split position to me. After birth I would cry all the time, through the night and through the day very loudly. My mom would shift me to one side of the house and when neighbours on that side complained, to the other side. As a young child, I was spoilt a bit due to the club foot and she says that made me more demanding, naughty, loud, nagging and so on…  many more such labels were attached to me, which I agree to some extent. It was much later in my life that I turned out be what I am today. Even from the age of 6/7 I would hear my mom say, “Someday you will have a naughty child like you to take care of and you will realize what I have been through”. I heard these words through my childhood, through my teen years and also during my pregnancy. My mom would smile and say, “Now you will get to know how tough it is being a mom, especially to a naughty child. I can’t wait to see you get a bit of what you have given me”. Off course she never meant it in a way to hurt me, but it was her joke.
I was ready for troublesome child and had read quite few books to handle few tantrums effectively to prove to my mom how to handle such issues without hurting the child. Yeah….. I carried few bad memories from my childhood as well, especially regarding my grandmother and the way she treated me. We both had our own agendas with the child who was not born yet.
Rayyan came, he saw, he conquered our agendas and threw it out never to be found. All those books I read turned out to be waste because there were no tantrums. He got toilet trained very easily. Would sleep through the night and barely cried. My mom would usually lament, how can God do this? How could someone who has tormented her mom, get a calm and peaceful child like this? One of our neighbours who had shifted to the house temporarily for three months realized we had baby in our home only after 2 months. She was gaga over Rayyan and kept telling me, how blessed I was to have a peaceful child who seldom bothered me. That triggered my mom’s memory and she started narrating to the lady about my childhood and how mean I was to her.
My mom was only the first one to lament about my luck. Soon there were many moms who would compare their own children to Rayyan and say how lucky I was. They never gave credit to me in any way. I had meditated peacefully for hours, I had eaten very bland food throughout my pregnancy, I did yoga and always kept my mental balance intact. Even after his birth, I would let him alone when he wanted to and pick him when he indicated it. A slight creaking of the cradle would wake me up and I was awake before he was every time. But those women and few men as well gave all the credit to Rayyan.
As a baby it was alright, but as he grew up and the same drama continued, I would feel bad for their children who watched their moms tell tales of their naughtiness exactly like my mom did. I would empathize with them more than their moms because I experienced what these children were going through but not what their moms went through. Slowly I started defending them. As days went by I started saying that they had every right to behave like children and what they branded naughty was just normal behavior of a child. In few more years, I started saying, “I don’t know what your problem is, I love naughty children and I wish my Rayyan would be naughty like your boy/girl”.
One day Rayyan was jumping up on the chairs, climbing on table, trying to misplace things and was behaving very odd. I was relaxing on a Sunday and wondered what was going on…. It was not Rayyan at all who was in front of me. Finally he tore a page from his book and looked expectantly at me. I was not sure what was going on, but did not interrupt him because I am usually lazy on a Sunday and I trusted Rayyan to be always right. Finally, Rayyan walked up to me and asked me, “Are you happy?” I am completely confused and ask, “Happy about what?” and the innocent child answers, “I was being naughty now as you always say you want me to be. I tried few things those moms usually complain about and you say you like it when children do that…………” the rest of the words were lost for me though Rayyan chattered away. I had completely forgotten my own child in defending the hurt child in me and other children who looked hurt. Now the challenge in front of me was something I hadn’t read in all those books. Should I tell me that his behavior did not please me and put all the effort he put into it to waste? Should I correct him and tell him he had absolutely no problem and those children who were being naughty were bad so that he will be under pressure behave always? What should I say.. what what what… the questions rang in my head. He stood there expecting an answer. I calmed down and maybe I did the best in that sticky situation. “Beta, you are the best. I am so lucky to have you. Don’t you hear your naani say that so often? But I was not like you. I was a naughty child and misbehaved very often. When people complained about me, I felt hurt. So I was trying to protect those children from getting hurt. Imagine how they feel when their moms say they are bad and don’t want them. Even I love calm and peaceful children like you, but not everyone can be like you. So, I was only trying to make those children happy. I am happy the way you are and I don’t mind if you want to be naughty. I am OK with anything as long as you are happy”. It took me nearly 30 minutes to put this message across to a small child, but I think I did a good job finally. I also mentioned all the good habits he had like putting away his shoes, wiping his feet, washing hands before eating, being very careful and many other things which I appreciated. I brought up all the things I could recall about him and how proud I felt about that. Finally Rayyan went back to playing with his lego toys and being who he really was. I couldn’t help laughing finally at how weird he was when he was trying to be naughty. It was more funny than me trying to be a submissive, obedient wife.
Years passed and he found a friend who was notorious for his behavior. His mother would always complain to me about her son. One day I told her, “I would enjoy my time with him and stand by him if he was my son”. Rayyan was 11 then and he again asked me, “Maa do you want me to change and be more naughty like ________. Am I too boring?”
 Did I repeat that mistake once again after promising I would never do it? I explained him once again how difficult it is to handle naughty children, the ordeals their moms face, the trouble they get into etc and no one wants that in their life. Anyone would go for a Rayyan as child happily. But, if at all those children could have a mom who could handle their issues, the person is me. Do you agree?” Fortunately Rayyan nodded in affirmative which encouraged me to continue. “I don’t think I can have a better child than you, but I feel the other children can have a better mom. That is the reason I mentioned it”. Again I went on to narrate few incidents which the moms messed up for their children and how I could have handled it better. Again it was long discussion I had with Rayyan.
I still defend children who are naughty, but I never repeated my past mistakes again. All children have this yearning to be appreciated by their parents, especially their moms. It is not easy to be a mom because everything we do leaves an impact on the child’s life forever. My mom was wrong. She was not under pressure anytime bringing up me, but I was always when bringing up Rayyan. When your child is perfectly good, you struggle to do justice. Since most of the time he left the decision making to me, I had to struggle to make right choices for him. My mom on the other hand could always blame me for whatever went wrong. I never got that opportunity. My mom had a luxury of earning pity from everyone around for dealing with a child like me, where as in my case the role is reversed. I lived so carelessly without giving a hoot to what someone would think of me, but now I am so conscious because of Rayyan presence in my life. I have started respecting him and try not to spoil my image in front of him. I know I wouldn’t exchange Rayyan for anyone in this world, but at the same time I would like him to be closer to humans like me so that the pressure on me would ease a bit. I wish my mom would have experienced this ……


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