Nature trial…

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I signed up my son for a nature trail for toddlers.

Finding the concept extremely cute, I hoped to create magical memories for my child to treasure.

The day dawned bright and sunny. I woke up early, got myself ready and tried to wake him up.

I was a nervous wreck in 30 minutes. I had to drag him for bath, kicking & screaming… He refused to wear the full-sleeved clothing prescribed to protect him from mosquitoes… Refused to drink the milk I placed before him… Refused to eat the jam sandwich I put in his plate… And demanded tea. His wail brought the roof down and I caved in. Brewed his tea with more milk than water (consoling myself that half glass of milk in some form is better than no milk)

Took his own sweet time drinking it, while I was getting palpitations that it was time for us to meet the group at the venue and we were still at home.

Suddenly he announced he wanted to stay back to play with his Thomas Tank engine. I dealt with that too.

Then came the resistance to wearing socks.

This time I completely lost it. I gave him a piece of my mind, grabbed his little feet, stuffed them in a pair of socks, forced a pair of shoes, dragged him out by the scruff of his neck and half carried him down the stairs and dumped him in the car. All of these while I was shouting at him for always dragging his feet and how I never get anywhere on time because of him, so on and so forth.

Just when we turned the street corner, I realised I’d left my mobile back home. “Oh hell! I forgot my phone!” I exclaimed to nobody in particular. “Me too”. Said a small, sad voice from the other side. “I forgot my green color toy phone”

Suddenly my anger vanished and I was filled with with remorse. It was not his fault that we were late, was it? said a small voice in my head. At 3 and a half what sense did being punctual make to him?

I decided to be more tolerant and caring for the rest of the trip. After all, we were making memories here, remember?

Once we reached the venue, which was a park in central chennai, I was dismayed to find that there was no sign of any group. Of course! said another voice in my head. You arrive half an hour late and still expect them to wait around for you?

“Blast! Quick, Come on out!” I instructed my son. “They’ve gone in without us. We have to find them”

He held my hand for dear life while we sprinted into the park. Suddenly, he tugged at my arm. “Let me go!” He screamed. Before I realised what was happening, he had freed himself from my grasp and had run up the play area and was climbing the ladder as fast as he could.

All my earlier frustration returned with full force.

“Get down now!” I thundered. “We’re late for the trail!”

“I don’t want trail!” he bellowed, matching my volume. “I want to play!”

I waited till he slid down the slide, grabbed him by the waist when he was half way down and ran towards the interiors of the park.

Finally I joined the group, disheveled and bent out of shape after all the running and fighting.

The minute I deposited him with the other toddlers, he tried to make a run for the play area again. This time I was smarter. I handed him to one of the organisers and told her to keep a firm reign, since my words have no impact on him. She was a friendly young thing who soon achieved what I’d been failing to do for so long. Control him.

She led him firmly to the trail path and spoke to him cheerfully on what were supposed to be seeing.

The rest of the trail was uneventful. Not boring in the least, though. Just uneventful for my son. He dutifully hugged a tree to hear it drinking water, saw spider webs, observed a bunch of caterpillars on the underside of a leaf (this made him sit up and notice), Saw the roots of an upturned tree and finally sat under a huge tree. By then he was sweating profusely & hungry too. Gobbled up the cookies I’d packed for him and what was offered.

After sticking all the dry leaves we’d collected on to a paper and tracing out leaf patterns, it was time to go.

“Erm.. Can we go through the front gate?” I asked the organiser who’d taken care of my boy earlier. “he’ll just run back to the slides again”

“No, ma’m! We have some more activities planned in our centre to complete this trail. Don’t worry! I’ll bring him”

When there was no sign of both of them after ten minutes, I traced my steps back to the park to find him on a high tower like structure and the organiser standing below, asking him to come down.

“Need any help?” I asked.

“No, ma’m. You go back. I can manage.”

Sure enough she brought him to the centre in no time.

The planned activity was to get each child to plant a sapling and it was given to them as a keepsake.

The girls in the group enthusiastically fought for their turn. And proudly received their plants like a trophy.

My son? He was nowhere in the scene. Unfortunately, the centre had a play area too.

Again, the same young lady volunteered to drag him for planting. He was forcefully deposited in front of the co-ordinator. He dutifully followed her instructions, but was ready to run away at a moment’s notice. But they held him back till he finished planting and watered the plant. In the time it took the lady to bend down to pick up the potted plant to hand it to him, he had streaked off like a bullet. So I sheepishly received it for him.

Anyway that was last weekend.

Today, we were running late for school (as usual!). He was walking down the stairs in slow motion, while I was waiting impatiently in the landing.

He stopped. “Amma, look!” he said. ” A snake!” It was a teeny weeny centipede. “Its not a snake! Its a centipede. Just hurry up! We’re late! ” I yelled.

He squatted down on the step to observe the insect, unmindful of my haste or rising temper. “See, its moving towards a plant.”

Oh! the irony of it is just killing me!!!



  1. Rekha said,

    February 14, 2008 at 6:49 pm

    Haha.. I’d say so cute, but I know exactly what kind of reaction that would draw from you. πŸ˜€

  2. Rekha said,

    February 14, 2008 at 6:51 pm

    I don’t know what it is that they have with the whole slow motion thing.

    Me too! But the minute I say shopping or beach, he’s ready even before me. Then he’ll be hurrying me up!!

  3. 10yearslate said,

    February 16, 2008 at 3:38 am

    Ten deep breaths is what I always tell myself and the AhamudaiyaaL. Have plenty such moments with both my kids. Matters get complicated when my daughter, pushing ten and A lock horns over matters of hairstyle (d prefers Deepika Padukone i-shtyle, A prefers rettai-pinnal), clothes, accessories-everything.

    Becomes even harder for arbitration (that’d be me). Fatherly instinct is to side with my baby girl, preservation instinct is to toe A’s line.

    enna paNNradhu?

    Thanx! Now I”ll have to brace myself for more battles! Seeing the youth of today, I’m sure I’ll have hair-style issues with my son too. Not to mention body-piercing and other fads!!

  4. mrs.maami said,

    February 16, 2008 at 9:23 am

    A nature trail that ended up as a trial huh?

    Sigh! yes...

  5. bombaygirl said,

    February 16, 2008 at 10:26 am

    Too funny. It sounds like a day in my son’s life!


  6. Pushpa said,

    February 17, 2008 at 1:24 pm

    I was laughing as I read this, but I’m sure you were not as you were dragging him down the steps and around the park. Having met your son, I could imagine every expression on his face through your words. Very nice, Padmaja.

    Hey Thanx! You’re right. I can look back and laugh now, but my BP was sky high then! πŸ™‚

  7. lakshmi said,

    March 2, 2008 at 9:32 pm

    Poor kid.. I remember my older one always wanting to go to the bathroom when watching a show – only to say – he didnt want to anymore once we got to the front of the line.. We’ve missed half a circus show this way.. they seem to have their own agenda.
    So true!

  8. Harish Ramaswamy said,

    March 19, 2008 at 10:15 pm

    Wow. this is an awesome post. I love your descriptions. simply love them.

    and about the slow motion thing, women! they have tiny feet. tiny. they cant just walk down the stairs in a flash. wait ok? =)

    Thanx! πŸ™‚

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