This feature is inspired by Elise at eliseblaha.typepad.com. I plan to write a letter each to Medha and Madhav once every month.
The more I try to understand you, the more I realize, you are not just a little girl, my offshoot or my mirror image without independent thoughts or feelings. You are a tiny person with a unique identity; You know what you want and will go to any length to get it; You know you are pretty and you are pretty sure what you’d like to become when you grow up- a princess! I still don’t know what I’d like to become, even though I’m all grown up! Your confidence, the determination in your eyes, the attention you pay towards life’s details confounds me.
You love carrying tiny things around in your pocket or a small bag. The things you carry range from a lip balm to empty shells of snails you collect at the park. And you’re so possessive about each one of them. You never let your brother touch them nor do you let go of them even when you need to use the restroom. I totally get your attachment to favorite possessions. I’m attached to mine. I never leave the house without my Samsung tablet or the book I’m reading, even if I don’t get to use them (like at functions). I carry them around like lifelines!
Your teachers complain to me that you’re too slow, still pondering over numbers 5 or 6 when the rest of the class has completed 50. They act as if and make me feel like IT IS the end of the world when you don’t get any of the letters right in your English test. When I push you to work harder, to be better at counting, you push back saying, “Numbers is so tough, no?”. I’m taken aback, but I agree. It is hard. Counting is hard. Remembering 26 Lowercase letters is hard. Life is hard. But I believe a bit of practice, daily, will make it easier. See, I love to write, but I’m not good at it yet. So, I practice writing a bit each day, which is helping me write better. I’ve mentioned this to you before, but I repeat -With a bit of practice and a lot of patience (No scribbling all over the book out of frustration when something goes wrong, please!) you too will get better at letters and numbers.
For now, since you are not even 5, all I’m concerned is that you get enough play-time. I want you to spend as much time outdoors as possible; I want you to get dirty; I want to watch you squeal with delight over the mud-pies and leafy dishes you prepare for me. So I take you to the park every single day unlike many moms I know. When you don’t do well in your class tests, the other moms ask me to put in a bit more effort into teaching you, as if I don’t already. That hurts. Then I panic and try to be forceful with you. I mean, if the other kids can, why not you? I wonder. That just makes you more stubborn and prone to mistakes. I have to remind myself that every child is different; Spanking and threatening doesn’t make you work harder, a lot of praise for little achievements and a ton of alternate teaching methods does.
Also, my priority for you is different from the other moms’ are, for their children. That doesn’t mean your school-work isn’t a priority, it surely is, but not to the extent of forcing you to spend all your time preparing for tests. My priority is to keep your confidence, the determination in your eyes, your attention to life’s tiny details burning for years to come….