Hmm.. it feels weird to be typing without the help of my left forefinger. I'm having to hit the backspace button a lot. For the past two days I've been nursing a grievous knife injury to the tip of that finger and I've adopted a "bless-the-world" gesture holding that hand away from all accidental contact with anything. I may also call it my "beacon of hope" gesture because of the huge white bandage that provides extra cushioning...
But where were we, aah, the question of what parenting is all about... this question was brought about by a recent event.
Last weekend, our Anikkuttan's school was celebrating its annual day. The hero was appearing in two solo performances (reciting the names of months and a song) and a group dance. I was in charge of making him practice the solo pieces at home. The song was "Ambalappuzhe" from Adwaitham and it was heard at Karthi ad nauseam till now we all are ready to flee if any one starts singing that song again.
So the big day dawned and DH, Kunjunni and I were seated in the second row eagerly awaiting the first stage performance of the youngest member of our family. When "Nidhin Rajesh - Cinematic Song" was announced, I was all a-flutter as though I were to be on the stage. Kunjunni, who fortunately doesn't know the meaning of the word "stage fright" confessed that his heart was going pit-a-pat at the thought of his young brother performing. DH was the only one who looked stoic among us. Soon the curtain went up. There the little guy was, all smart in a kasavu mundu and blue khadi jubba . There was a pregnant pause and this was heard, "Good afternoon everybody! I am Nidhin Rajesh. I am going to tell you the names of..."
We were all aghast. He finished his speech. His teacher came on stage and whispered in his ear and went back. We waited in nervous anticipation - "Good afternoon everybody, I am Nidhin Rajesh..."
"Oh no, not again!" went his brother! As his little speech wound to an end again, he looked back at his teacher who gestured to him to sing. But he shook his head and refused. He was NOT going to sing. As we tittered nervously the curtain went down on the poor guy. Little did we know that the drama had only started...
Parents had been forbidden from entering the makeup room for the duration of the program, so we knew something was amiss when Ani was brought to us by a teacher. He wanted to see us and go home. He didn't want to stay for the dance program or any of the rest of the programs. I went and soothed him at first and sent him back along with the teacher. Five minutes later, he was back on his own. This time his father went along to encourage him and persuade him to get dressed for the next program. Ten minutes later, DH calls me admitting defeat and thinks it might be better for all of us to leave.
Okay, Momma to the rescue again: the recalcitrant performer had resisted all of his father's persuasion including threats and was seated on a desk. I decided to play good cop and went along these lines,
"Hey, we are all waiting to see you dance. It's ok if you didn't sing. Your speech was very good. Let's go and change!"
"No, I wanna go home!"
"I hear the costume is very nice (heard nothing of the sort). Shall we go and take a look?"
"No, I wanna go HOME!"
"Your friends will all feel sad if they can't dance with you. Even your teacher will feel sad!"
"I wanna go home"
At that moment I tried a different track. I huffed and puffed and said: "Ok, we are going out to have PIZZA after the program. You won't even get a SLICE!"
The little guy shrugged his shoulders and slid off the desk saying, ''Oh, okaaaay. I will go and dance"
As soon as I had picked up my lower jaw from the floor, dusted it off and put it back, I followed him to the make up room (where all the mothers were already there) and helped him into a Punjabi style costume which he absolutely loved. Thereafter, he was thoroughly happy with me fussing over his costume and turban, picked up his dance props and went along with his mates for the program. Once he was on stage, there was no hesitancy, no mistake, he only held his face a little sideways because he felt a little shy. He even managed a tiny wave to us in the middle of the dance and we three beamed with pride and laughter. Oh the sheer relief!!!!
Which brings me back to my original question: Is this what parenting is all about? Learning which button to push at the right time?????