Sometimes, being a parent is hard because not only are you expected to be caring for another person, 24*7 for a lifetime, but you also need to be putting out your best self. There is so much being written and told about how parents should only be putting out their best reflection out there because as they say, babies watch everything.
Once I became a parent, a lot of people told me, he is going to learn a lot from you so make sure you teach him everything right, don’t forget you are his first teacher. I nodded to all the suggestions, only to let them pass from my ears into thin air. I told myself cheekily, how hard is it to put my best? After all, I am dealing with a 22 month old kid. What bad things can he possibly learn from me?
I mentally gave myself a clean chit certifying myself to be packed with only the good stuff. I assumed I was doing it right –I even have a list!!!
- Brush twice every single day – check (It’s not my favorite part but I do and get the little one to do as well)
- Eat lot of veggies and fruits – check (meh, I sacrificed my favorite bag of chips, ice creams and pastries only to be eating apples and bananas)
- Sleep early – check (gone are the days when I stay up late on my laptop or mobile only to put the little one to bed before 10)
- Keeping clean – check (Okay, I admit I am not the tidiest person but having a baby made me realize I would have to do a lot of cleaning around, only to show him the importance of being tidy. Not my favorite part either!)
- No fighting – check (I am kind of passing around on this one but each time I raise my voice, I tell myself the toddler is watching me so I have learnt to argue in low voices with my husband. Took a lot practice, I tell you!)
So, I thought I was doing all the right things until my toddler let me know of all the wrong things I had been doing. The other day, I noticed my toddler drop something on the floor, only to exclaim with the words ‘Oh shit!’
I stared at him with my mouth wide open, my head, teeming with the thought – where in the world did he learn this from? It didn’t take a genius to realize that he had picked it from the one person he was watching all the time – his mother. Oh, but wait, isn’t that me?
I traveled back, down memory lane, realizing that I used the words ‘oh, shit’ almost any time when something bad happens or when I drop something. I had been using it for so long that the words almost came automatically. Never once have I felt the need to stop using it. Until the moment, I heard it from the mouth of my 22 month old toddler. It is the phase when he is still learning to use his words, somehow the word ‘shit’ didn’t feel good coming out from his mouth.
Since then, I have been trying hard to get him to stop using it but toddlers are like repeat machines. He goes on and on with the words, as he looks at me, his eyes keep telling me “I am watching you every single minute. You better watch your words.”
That’s when I realized, that the long lectures I got from my parents about discipline, the manners that my teachers tried so hard to imbibe me with, the mark sheet that I got at the end of every year to let me know that I had passed to the next level – all of these didn’t matter. Because my real score is here - I thought I was scoring good only to know that my scores were going in negative.
It’s been more than a week that my toddler has been using the words ‘oh, shit’ religiously every single time he drops something. I keep telling him, “I have been trying to teach you so many other good things. Why is it that you picked this one thing from me?” He gave a flicker of smile as he continued with his little game of pouring water into glasses.
He seemed to be saying, “I’ll pick everything that you give me. It’s up to you what you want to give me.” I dropped my charger to the floor. I tongued the words ‘shit’ inside my mouth, but what came out loudly was ‘Oh, no’. Phew! That was close.
My toddler looked at me, ‘See, you are mending your ways. And this is just the beginning.”
And that’s when I realized that I am being watched, literally. I held my heart in my mouth, grasping the fact that I will be watched for the rest of the years that would follow.
About the Author : Chital Mehta loves to explore new books. After becoming a mother, she started this blog to share her experiences as a mother. Apart from being busy with her baby, she makes times for writing, reading and watching movies. She has authored 4 fiction novels. You can find details on her facebook page :Chital Mehta facebook
Write to her : firstname.lastname@example.org