No, I haven’t majored in parenting, so don’t ask me what to do

Act One, Scene one:

Babe, I need your help! (It’s the OPU)

Me: (trying to finish my tea, my only three minutes of bliss in the mornings): What is it?

OPU: Re is holding a jar of peanut butter and I think is trying to eat it.

Me: So let him eat it. I made it. It’s healthy.

OPU: Can you please come here for one second. I think he has scooped out a rather large spoon and he might choke.

Me: No, he wont. And he can have a large scoop if he likes! ( my tea is getting colder with every bellow)

OPU: You have to see how he is shoving it in his mouth, it looks scary. The spoon is bigger than his mouth.

Me: No, I don’t have to see it, I see this several times a day.

OPU: Why can’t you just come here and help me!

Me: I am just trying to have my tea. Do I bellow to you 40 times a day when I don’t know what to do? Figure it out.

And we officially have our first fight of the day.

The thing about parenting is that none of us are qualified for it. I guess you are somewhat, if you’ve had a child before and this is your second or third, but even then, what works for one doesn’t necessarily work for another. You just learn to figure it out as you go along. I read this interesting piece by Jug Suraiya in the Crest edition of the TOI a long time ago which talked about how, almost every profession/task we undertake comes with a prerequisite qualification, like being a teacher or a nurse or a pilot. But when it comes to being a parent, it is a free-for-all, almost anyone can be a parent and not be questioned.

The problem with men (okay, most men, in case some of you pipe up and say “O, my husband does everything, and I want to kill you) is that they think you have somehow managed to get that Masters In Parenting and therefore, you will have all the answers. All they have to do is ask the questions, and voila, they will know what to do.

So not true. The best insight I ever got about parenting was from Kelly George who, in an old post in her blog says, “There are no answers in parenting. Only ideas.”  So get ideas, as many ideas from your friends and try what you like. You will also come up with your own. So here’s something I’d like you to share. Your five best ways of distracting a toddler. You can add them to the comments section, and let’s see how many we can come up with. If you like, I can compile them all and add my own and do another post!

Act One, Scene Two: 

OPU: Babe, you need to come here quick.

Me: (gobbling down my breakfast): Now, what?

OPU: Re is holding on to my trousers while I am shaving. Can you please take him?

Me: He is holding on to your trousers because he wants you. It won’t help if I take him.

OPU: Can someone help me please?

Me: Find something to distract him. Fill a bucket. Give him a mopping cloth.  A brush. Anything.

OPU: He doesn’t want a bucket. What do I do?

Me: For one, you can stop whining.

OPU: That wasn’t very helpful.

And so we have our second fight of the day. And it’s not even 10 am!

I have often heard of the mythical species called hands-on daddies, but I have yet to see one. Okay, I know one who lives in the wilderness. And a few women I know claim that their men are, but I am still waiting to meet one I am totally convinced about. But do you know any city dads who are good at thinking of ideas? Anyone who doesn’t always ask, “So what do I do?”, but instead says, “Do you think we should try this?” And this cannot be a bag of chips or a bowl of ice-cream.

Please send me their numbers.

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12 thoughts on “No, I haven’t majored in parenting, so don’t ask me what to do

  1. Well said. That said, I will add here that my husband is the hands-on husband that is quite the rare species, but on the flip side, I am a pretty hands-off person, she he has to strike a balance. No?

  2. I wont call my husband 100% hands on but he has never called me for help while left alone with our little girl. But once I get back home or done with whatever chore I am doing, he drops the girl in my arms and is done with it for the rest of night/week/month.

    I have started doing this during weekends to keep Babs busy. I take a huge towel/mat and put it on the floor. Give her a little aata, water (or cut peices of orange that she squeezed last week with a squeezer), a spoon and a tumbler. She does whatever her imagination decides to do. The other day she made an atta paste, and fed two of her dolls. At the end of the day, a towel got nasty, and the dolls had to be washed, but I got 45 minutes to take care of my chores.

    I also sometimes, fill up the tub and let her play for 15-20 mins. I sit and browse on my phone in the bathroom while getting some good quality me time.

    I drop in some papers with traceable alphabets and ask her to do it while I cook/clean. Or just give her some paper and pen and she is off busy trying to play waitress (that she calls chef) or a school teacher.

    What do you think?

    • Great ideas. I do the atta do sometimes, and water-play always works. Squeezing oranges is great texture, and i am sure he will love it.
      Re also loves ‘washing’ clothes, so i have to give him a few pretend clothes and a bucket of water and it works great. So far it has been had towels, his t-shirts, etc, but now he wants larger clothes. I am wondering where to draw the line. Also, he has mustered enough strength to tilt the whole bucket and ask for ‘more, more!’ and it breaks my heart so see so much water being wasted. Any way, you win some, you lose some.
      Will try the traceable alphabets, although at two, do you think he is too young for it?

      • L,

        Ya, I think at 2 he is a little young. But those washable finger paints from Crayola is amazing. I give Babs a huge piece of paper and make her color it with her fingers…gives me a 15-20 minute break. SOmetimes I also jump in and celebrate color with her. At two, I used to give her colors and a brush or crayons.

        I taught her the idea of coloring within lines by the time she was 2.5 (does not mean she has mastered it).

        So many things we learn each day with our kids. Most of the time I learn about myself. How much I suck at doing certain things and how I smartly tackled one 🙂

        Love
        A

      • That’s a fab idea. But Re has a bit of an OCD (very cancerian, like his father) when it comes to getting himself dirty, and he had to call to say my washable finger paints were ‘chhheeeee”. So I was left with staring at my own fingers smeared with loads of finger paint, and i had to amuse myself. But yes, I give him chores Like sorting out clothes, finding the pair to a sock, puttiing plates and mugs away, returning something to the kitchen, filling the cat’s bowl with water… he loves being useful!

  3. So here’s one. Keya loves being the helper and i giver her ‘jobs’ – useless chores around the house but she feels involved and it keeps her busy. For example – can you get me the tissue box from the bedroom, can you put the wipes into the closet, can you check if the window is closed in the living room, can you count the books on the coffee table, can you put the red one underneath the blue one.. ha!

    • OMG! They are so connected. Blood, i tell ya! Re also loves being useful. Now i have gone as far as asking him to peel potatoes, string beans, being me this, that, let’s wipe the doors, let’s clean our toys (i pretend there are germs there which only he can attack (have to pander to the male ego!). But you are right, there is so much you can do to engage them around the house.

  4. LOL!

    What use to kill me was when my OPU would be like “come quick!!” and then I’d run over only to hear something like “look how cute!”

    eesh. Thanks, saw it 10 times today. Was more interested in the whole sitting thing I had going on.

    🙂

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