Lessons in motherhood-I

A  Saturday not so long ago, I started for the grocery store with my four year old in tow. He dawdled behind, stopping at the landing window to watch a plane.

“Hurry up!” I urged as I raced past him down the stairs.

“Amma! Look!” He screamed from the landing. I stopped half way. He pointed to the railing beside me.

Expecting to see a lizard or something that caught his fancy, I turned to look.

About six inches from my face, perched on the railing,  was a baby crow.

Before I could stop myself, I ran down screaming on top of my voice.

My son screamed too and promptly burst into tears.

Even his fear-stricken, tearful face did not propel me back to his side past the squeaking
bird.

Thankfully, my neighbor heard our screams, ran towards him and scooped him up before handing him over to me.

After the security guard was summoned to return the baby bird to the safety of its nest, after we were safely in the car,I started to feel really silly.

“Your father’s going to laugh at me!” I told my son, as I drove out of our gate.

“Why?” he asked.

“Because I actually got scared of a baby bird!. Its a baby! What harm can it do?”

I was desperately trying to undo the damage I’d done. What if he grows up getting scared of birds?

“He’s going to laugh!” I laughed too, a bit nervously.

He was very silent.

I took my eyes off the road momentarily too look at him.

He was deep in thought.

“Hey! What are you thinking about?’

“…..”

“Are you still thinking about it?”

“…..”

“Are you still scared?”

“……”

“Hello! I’m talking to you!”

“…..”

“Tell me what you’re thinking!” I bellowed.

“Just dive!” He mumbled, almost inaudibly.

“What did you say?!!” Is he asking me to jump off the car? I wondered.

This time he looked me squarely in the eye.

“Amma, Just dive the car, okay?”

……….

Thinking she’ll find it hilarious, I narrated this to my good friend, a mother of two.

“You did what?!” She thundered.

“As a mother, you have no right to show your true emotions to your child”, she wagged a finger at me.

“What? ….” I stammered.

“You’re supposed to swallow your fear, anger whatever negative emotion you have and put up a brave front for him”

“hmmm… I was actually…”

“Listen to me!” She almost shook me by my sholulder.

“Your son looks up at you. You’re his role model. You’re his protector from all the bad things in his life. You cannot abandon him and run away from something and tell you’re scared of it too. Get it?”

“Promise me you’ll never do this again,”

“Okay,” I agreed sheepishly.

………………………

That night I tried to share this incident with my husband, hoping he’ll symphathise with me.

“You did what?!” He thundered. “You’re turning my son into a pip-squeak! It was a baby bird, for heaven’s sake!”

“Then you can bring him up yourself!” I screamed.

“I’m looking for a full-time job tomorrow!”

“Fine”

“Fine”

I walked out of the room and shut the door taking care not to bang it.

……………….

God! I wish there was a handbook on motherhood.

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19 Comments

  1. maxdavinci said,

    September 30, 2008 at 9:54 pm

    were you chased by eagles or picked up by a vulture as a kid?

    I know ppl are scared of cockroaches, lizards, rats but a fledgling? I’m sure there is a super story to it!

    My answer would be neither… But come on! Baby birds up close when you least expect them are scary!! Check the picture.. 🙂

  2. aimeewrites said,

    September 30, 2008 at 10:19 pm

    You know, a phobia is a phobia, and you can’t squelch everything for your kids! It’s a good learning opportunity, if you can turn it around. My kids know how scared I am of snakes…I’m certainly not going to put myself in panic mode by letting one around me so they can learn about them. I have explained to them many times that my fear is irrational – that’s what phobias are, irrational fears. (Of course, there’s another great learning opportunity – vocabulary! LOL) Neither of them (boys, ages 8 & 5 now) is scared of snakes. We talk about it whenever the opportunity arises.

    I’m not very coherent right now, just ran across your post on tag surfer & wanted to lend my support. I suggest you talk to him about it. Apologize, even, for scaring him. A lot. One thing I think we can all do better (myself included, definitely!) is apologize to our kids when we do something we think is probably not helpful to them.

    A handbook would be nice. But every kid is SO different! Can you imagine how large that book would have to be? It would have to come with its own chiropractor. 😉

    🙂 Thanx for the support! Haha.. I can just imagine the book!

  3. Rekha said,

    October 1, 2008 at 12:59 am

    Hahaha.. I can’t believe you got scared of a little bird. But then, I donno what I wouldve done either. I am sure your kid will be fine. You worry too much about him.. poor chap!

    🙂 Left to myself, I really don’t worry about him. But when people around me start commenting on the way I bring him up… I start doubting myself!!

  4. buddy said,

    October 1, 2008 at 8:56 am

    dive the car…lol!
    you must meet my Amma…she is petrified of lizards and screams unabashedly!
    mothers!

    your mom will surely bond with maami. she’s terrified of lizards too…
    yes… mothers!! 🙂

  5. October 1, 2008 at 9:50 am

    The baby bird is soooo cute! I can’t believe it frightened you. The poor thing’s little heart must have had a seizure when you screamed! And your poor little son!

    ROFL @ ‘dive the car’!!

    🙂 I really didn’t find that baby bird cute!! See pic again. Only that one was black with a bright pink mouth…:(

  6. Pradeep said,

    October 1, 2008 at 8:40 pm

    My amma is the bravest woman in the history of mankind (and womankind 🙂 )
    You should learn a lesson from her! 😛

    Wow!! Cool mom!:)

  7. maami said,

    October 1, 2008 at 11:52 pm

    Ssssssssssscccccccccccrrrrrrrreeeeeaaaaammmmm! Who mentioned lizards? Aiyoooooooooooooooooooooooooo!

  8. buddy said,

    October 2, 2008 at 4:39 am

    the hand that rocks the cradle and rules the world cannot stifle a scream on seeing a reptile?
    im an expert at getting rid of them…
    lol

  9. maami said,

    October 2, 2008 at 9:34 am

    @buddy
    My one request when my boyfriend proposed to me was “I do, but only if you chase them lizzies after we enjoin our lives in holy matrimony”. Rascal nodded dreamy eyed then and now leaves me alone to scream and chase them with brooms!
    Er, yes, otherwise I’m one brave mother! I act nonchalant while I wet my knickers silently when I see ’em on walls because I don’t want to pass my demons over to the next generation.

    Maami! Wish I had your control! 😦

  10. Rada said,

    October 2, 2008 at 12:05 pm

    Sometimes when Fear overwhelms you, you have little control over your actions!
    Unfortunately, children are keen observers and look up to their parents for clues on how to behave, how to react to situations…
    But then, nobody said parenting was easy! 🙂

    You can say that again! 🙂

  11. Pradeep said,

    October 2, 2008 at 7:56 pm

    @ Maami, lizard aavadhu parava illai..For almost all my life, I have had pressurecooker-o-phobia (I am scared of the pressure cooker whistle sound) 😦

    I used to run out of the house when the cooker whistle used to go off..

    In fact, only after I came to the US and started cooking has my fear gone away (Not completely. Even now, deep down inside, I am petrified). 😀

  12. maami said,

    October 2, 2008 at 10:29 pm

    @Pradeep:What do you know? My 6-year old jumps at the sound of the cooker whistle too and runs away!

  13. Meena said,

    October 2, 2008 at 11:16 pm

    I can empathize,for I have been in this situation many times! And no, I don’t think it is wrong to express your emotions in front of your child. I think children are more understanding and accepting than we give them credit for.

    🙂 So true.. Thanks!!!

  14. Pradeep said,

    October 3, 2008 at 12:11 am

    @Maami:
    Appadiye enna madhiri polirukku..kavala padathel, payyan enna madhiriye pramaadhama varuvaan (in the kitchen I meant 😛 )

  15. maami said,

    October 3, 2008 at 7:23 am

    @Pradeep:Bless you for saying that. I’d be most happy-inside and outside of kitchen!

  16. Pushpa said,

    October 7, 2008 at 11:24 am

    Padmaja, I empathize with you. I passed on my irrational fear of dogs to my one-year-old niece when a couple of puppies came up to lick my toes. I could feel her stiffening in my arms, she, who until then loved dogs, but my fear was too overpowering. And yeah, I got a earful from my husband too, about the stupidity of being afraid of a damn puppy and about passing on my unreasonable phobia to a baby!

    🙂 Thanx! Its so difficult to be cool as a cucumber when there’s a baby in your arms!!

  17. Beena said,

    October 7, 2008 at 11:39 am

    thanks for the lesson…Being a new mamma,i surely need to take care of all these…

    🙂 you’re welcome. I shall pass on more lessons as and when I learn them!

  18. bombaygirl said,

    October 10, 2008 at 7:51 am

    That was hilarious! I would have the same reaction if I saw a cockroach/lizard/rat/fill-in-the-rodent-or-insect. Not that cute little baby bird though. 🙂 I’m sure. 🙂 I loved your son’s comment in the car though…sounds like a disgruntled husband (is that where he picked it up? 😉 )

    🙂 could be.. or it could just be the way the male species is wired up!!

  19. Raj said,

    October 15, 2008 at 12:18 pm

    I dont think you did anything wrong to your son when you just screamed but you should have taken care of him as well come what may. Thats probably the reason for a long silence to show his displeasure while your were driving.

    So you give this kinda reaction to your hubby and write story like ‘for girls.’ Besh Besh..

    🙂 I suppose you’re right!


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